A cross-cultural analysis of communication patterns between two cultures in Southwest Nigeria

Olugbenga Elegbe, Ifeoma Nwachukwu
Jnl Hum & Soc Sci   unpublished
Communication scholars estimate that two-thirds of communications are influenced by the culture of the communicator. On this basis, this study examined the Igbo and Yoruba socio-cultural relationships as they influence the management of their communication patterns. Employing the mixed-method research design, the study revealed the cultural affinity in both ethnic groups' communication patterns in the use of honorific greeting, silence, expressiveness (direct or indirectness and touch) and eye
more » ... ontact. This shows that culture has a significant influence on some of the communication patterns of both ethnic groups (p>0.000) while gender also has an influence on both groups (r=20.7, df=1, p<.05). This shows a slight variation in both ethnic groups in relation to their culturally held values. The findings of this study will play a significant role in the promotion of effective communication and peaceful coexistence among cultural groups. Introduction The development of human culture is made possible through communication, and it is through communication that culture is transmitted from one generation to another. In other words, culture and communication are intertwined (Olaniyi 2017:58). In the process of communicating, difficulties occur as a result of the differences between languages, beliefs or values of the interlocutors involved. All are aspects of culture. Moreover, communication scholars estimate that some two-thirds of communication are non-verbal, accounting for 65% of all communication behaviours (Gamble and Gamble 2002; Novinger 2008). These behaviours are greatly influenced by the culture of the communicator (Novinger 2008). Gudykunst and Kim (2003) emphasize that culture always affects the way interlocutors communicate, because competent speakers know what is or is not acceptable and appropriate in a given context. They know this because they have been socialised into a particular culture and have been made aware of the rules and expectations from an early stage (Olaniyi 2017:58) Nigeria, as the most populous country in Africa, is estimated to have over 400 different languages and over 300 distinct ethnic groups (Awogbade 2004). In previous decades, especially before the coming of the British to Nigeria, different ethnic groups lived within their geographical territories. There was little contact among these groups. However, over the decades, Nigeria has experienced a rapid influx into new, culturally different territories across the country. Communication among these culturally different people is inevitable. Communication covers all activities that transfer meaning, whether through the spoken word, non-verbal actions or general body language. In transferring meaning, communicators must draw from such factors as their previous experience, cultural affiliations and the present communication environment (Novinger 2008). The communicative behaviour of individuals stems from what their culture has taught them. Novinger (2008) posits that people speak volumes through the behaviour their culture has drilled into them. Culture dictates when individuals may speak and how they may speak. From culture, individuals know when to keep quiet and when to maintain eye contact with an older person. They are