this is what I wrote - it's been signed off hope it helps!
Your knowledge and understanding of the world, the words we use and how we use them is influenced by your culture. Your culture is the group or community you were born in, grew up in and now live in. Each of these contains a myriad of people who will influence how you interpret things.
Our families will have the biggest influence on how we communicate. Families have shared experiences, the knowledge of which may make them laugh or cry, but to which an outsider may have no understanding. Within a family non-verbal communication can be very subtle as there is such a deep familiarisation; a look or gesture may convey a message that could only be understood by those within the family. Words and phrases, especially those of young children, may have a completely different meaning to people outside the family; for example my daughter used to describe food as tasty. People outside the family thought this meant she liked it and couldn’t understand why she would leave the ‘tasty’ food, whilst we all knew it meant she didn’t like the taste of the food. It is not just the meaning of words that may differ within a family but also the kind of words that are acceptable to use. Many families do find it acceptable to use swear words as part of everyday expression yet the wider community might find this quite offensive and, within education, it can cause a lot of confusion for young children when they are told off for using them.
The kind of person you are or the kind of family you come from can also influence the way in which you communicate. A child, brought up in a noisy, busy background will probably have the confidence to talk to new people or try new ways of communicating, as will people who are confident. Quieter people and those lacking confidence may appear more withdrawn or reluctant to attempt new ways of communicating. Past experiences can also have a great effect. If you grew up in a house where people didn’t read or use the telephone you may shy away from these forms of communication because they are unfamiliar to you. If you were, as a child, criticised in some way for the way you read or wrote you may be reluctant to pursue those forms of communication. Praise or criticism can have a strong influence as it can tell a person “I am good at this so I’ll use it,” or “I’m bad at this I don’t want to try that again.”
Our ethnic origins may also influence how we use and interpret different communication methods. In some cultures communication was or still is predominantly verbal rather than written, like that of Somali, where all communication was, up until 1972, oral. Even today many adults are still unable to communicate through reading and writing. Some cultures interpret the tone of your voice differently; raised voices could mean an argument to some people, but to others it could mean an exciting conversation. Yet even within cultures there are subtle differences. Just because one group from a particular background does something it does not necessarily mean everybody from that country will do it and vice versa. When learning a new language you may find it easier to learn one aspect of communication, such as speaking, rather than another (written) and may therefore adopt that style of communication until your knowledge and abilities grow.
Some cultures, especially those in the west, are very adept to new forms and varieties of communication methods such as e-mail and texting. This is as a result of the wide availability and accessibility of computers and mobile phones and the network technology required for powering these. Other cultures either do not have the infrastructure or their people do not have the finances to adapt these communication styles. Age will also influence the use of these types of communication. Older people prefer to communicate through telephones and the written word as they are familiar with them and may find today’s communication technology a little overwhelming or confusing. Younger people have developed a new language to accompany the new technology which may be completely alien to older people.
The way in which you communicate will be influenced by your experiences. Knowledge and understanding brings confidence and ability and it is these that will form the basis of our adopted style of communication.