When intercultural communication takes place, the interlocutors may have very different conceptions of what is being discussed, since meaning in any culture results from lifelong learning within that culture. Such concepts as worldviews, cultural beliefs, and decision-making processes are unique to each culture, and afffect each culture's interpretation of the same discussion. This text explores how people communicate when communication involves different languages, social organizations, beliefs and values. It focuses on the Merina in the Highlands of Madagascar and the Western World, suggesting ways in which the Malagasy's worldview and values are different from the Westerner's and how these differences affect communication.
OYVIND DAHL is Professor of Social Anthropology and Intercultural Communication in the School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger-Norway.