Context is significant to the development of cross-cultural communication. However， context plays different roles in different cultures， so it can be classified into high and low context. This paper will mainly analyze their influence in communication styles， goals of business negotiations， advertising language and writing styles， thus testing the significance of mastering the differences of high and low culture.
KEY WORDS：cross-cultural communication high context low context
Brief Introduction of the high-and low-context culture
It’s known that only relying on the language itself cannot complete “human communication”， namely， language is forever accomplishes its communication task on the premise of the context. However， context plays different roles in different cultures. Hall categorizes culture as being either high or low culture， depending on the degree to which meaning comes from the setting or from the words being exchanged.
High context refers to that the vast majority of information either exists in the context， or is internalized in personal communicators， rarely appears in the information with clear coding； low context refers to that a large number of information is delivered only by the information with clear coding， during which context occupied a minor position in the message. So there are big differences between them and the study on high and low context is vital for cross-cultural communication.
The Different Influence of High and Low Context Culture
ⅠThe Differences of Communication Styles
In high context culture， consistent information gets consistent reaction from the environment. Therefore， it is unnecessary to include meaning in the discourse. As representatives of high context culture， Chinese speak in a more refined way. Little message is conveyed by explicit codes and much is hidden in the language environment； When communicating， Chinese don’t want to express their disagreement with others directly， but often use expressions and gestures even silence to express their own points of view. So their real intention is sometimes difficult to obtain from the speech information.
In low context culture， language conveys the most information， while context and the participants only contain little. As representatives of low context culture， Americans talk in a relatively straightforward way. When communicating， thought are directly expressed and information is mainly conveyed by language symbols. Ⅱ Differences of Goals of Business Negotiations
Chinese， deeply influenced by the high context culture， often think the goal of negotiation is not signing an agreement， but building a relationship. High context culture is a typical emotion-driven culture， emphasizing the “human” and “human relationship”.
For low context culture countries， negotiators of United States regard the agreements as the ultimate goal of negotiation. Low context culture is a typical task-driven culture paying more attention to practical problems and interests.
Ⅲ Differences of Advertising Language
In high context culture， symbol is the main characteristic of the use of language， so it emphasizes the fusion of culture and setting， and consistency of cultural symbols in the language codes. In China， the information senders use the well-known symbol meaning in the cultural behavior in order to strengthen the audiences’ degree of uncertainty to the advertising.
In low context culture， science and reason are dominant， the use of language symbols place emphasis on direct statements. Therefore， the principle of expression is a real detailed description of product， and the advertising information tends to rationalize the theme of the text and let the facts speak as much as possible.
Ⅳ Differences of Ways of Writing
In terms of the expression of the theme， the author influenced by low context will give it at the first place， while high context works need the reader themselves to understand the theme； In terms of the work structure， works in low context culture usually have relatively tight structure， every detail are interconnected， while the structure in high context culture is more loosely， and all the details are relatively loose.
Ⅴ Differences in Ways to Get Information
People in high context tend to get a lot of information from the inter-personal communication， while those in low context prefer objective information.
In today’s world， the economic globalization not only makes human communication more frequently， but also deepens the influence of between high and low context. But anyway， we should be fully aware of the differences between the high and low context cultures. Meantime， predicting the possible behaviors during intercultural communication can avoid the unnecessary misunderstanding.
Larry A. Samovar， Richard E. Porter & Lisa A. Stefani. Communication Between Culture. Foreign Language Teaching And research Press.2009
爱德华・霍尔. 超越文化. 北京：北京大学出版社.2010
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