Non-Verbal Communication: The “Silent” Cross-Cultural
Contact With Indonesians
A. Non-Verbal Communication
This paper reviews key issues in cross-cultural communication; verbal communication and non-verbal communication. Verbal communication is defined as spoken communication, including the use of words and intonation to convey meaning. On the other hand, non-verbal communication is “silent” communication, including the use of gestures, postures, position, eye contact, facial expressions, and conversational distance.
The issue of non-verbal communication is related to the teaching of Indonesian to speakers of other languages. The learners studying Indonesian should not only be equipped with the language itself but also the Indonesian culture because “……………to know another’s language and not his culture is a very good way to make a fluent fool of one’s self”(Brembeck, Winston:1977) and “Culture hides much more than it reveals, and strangely enough, what it hides, it hides most effectively from its own participants”(Hall, Edward T:1959).
The paper will limit itself to non-verbal communication or speaking without words, not verbal communication. It will put emphasis on the importance of non-verbal communication concepts, because without them, a real communication can not be conducted smoothly and successfully. Moreover, the paper is also going to explore the similarities and differences of non-verbal communication between Indonesians and non-Indonesian speakers. By doing comparisons, the learners learning Indonesian will avoid themselves from interpreting non-verbal communication that is culturally different from their own.
If we don’t understand the non-verbal communication from different culture, it is possible that we can make a mistake of reading the other person incorrectly. Some forms of non-verbal signals are the same and universal and they have the same meaning or interpretation. But, the other forms are different and the have different...