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Culture of United States of America
Americans are insincere; they are always smiling and are unrelentingly enthusiastic.
Americans are loud, crass, and effusive. They assertively introduce themselves to others.
Americans maintain a large physical distance from one another compared to many other cultures, and yawning, passing gas, and openly breastfeeding ar e frowned on.
The word American conjures up an image of a White, middle- class person. All other residents, including the area’s indigenous inhabitants, are hyphenated or identified with an adjective: Native American, African A merican, Asian American, Mexican American. The national census does not hyphenate Americans of European descent.
Americans celebrate several national holidays, but they are regarded more as family holidays than as celebrations of patriotism. The Fourth of July mark s the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776, but it is also a time for summer picnics and camping trips for friends and family. Thanksgiving is an annual feast that celebrates the hardships of early colonists. However, Thanksgiving is important not primarily because of its symbolism but because it is a significant family holiday and one of the few large and elaborate meals that families prepare.
Americans are generally not opposed to social benefits such as pensions, social security, and insurance of bank deposits. However, relief programs for th e poor, known as welfare, are controversial. In a country where many believe that all its citizens have an equal chance, where opportunity is unlimited, a nd where only the lazy are poor, programs for the indigent have been vulnerable to cutbacks.
Source: Adapted from United States of America. (2010). Countries and their cultures: Culture of United States of America. Retrie
ved from https://www.everyculture.com/To-Z/United-States-of-America.html
Communication Accommodation Theory
A number of communication theories can help us understand and improve how individuals from different groups or cultures interact with one another. The most significant of these th eories is communication accommodation theory (CAT), developed 45 years ago by commu nication scholar Howard Giles. Specifically, CAT describes how communicators from differe nt social groups or cultures choose to modify or adapt their nonverbal and verbal messages to accommodate, or adjust to, one another (Shepard, Giles, & LePoire, 2001). According to CAT, convergence occurs when we align our messages with those used by othe r communicators in an interaction. For example, we might speak at the same rate, use a sim ilar tone or accent, or disclose similar levels of information. Convergence is more likely whe n individuals seek to be like the person they are interacting with, and it is usually perceived as a positive communication strategy. For instance, women are more likely than men to us e emojis, but men will increase their emoji usage when communicating online with women (Fullwood, Orchard, & Floyd, 2013). However, there is also a risk of overaccommodation w hen a communicator goes beyond what is necessary to mitigate differences between comm unicators, and such accommodations might be perceived as insincere, offensive, or condesc ending (Sparks, Bevan, & Rogers, 2012). Speaking loudly to someone from a different cultur e is one example of overaccommodation, especially if a language difference, not an auditory impairment, is the true barrier to shared meaning.
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