The need for effective intercultural communication arises because cultures differ in almost every aspect of communication, from the language spoken through to the subtleties of nonverbal communication. The reasons can be found in the span of human history. As people spread out from Africa, they developed language and communication within a group, which maintained some contact as it spread and grew through reproduction. At some point, people lost contact with their more far-flung relatives. Unrelated groups also existed, and when they came into contact, conflict was the frequent result.

Different groups developed their own languages, communication styles, and values, with little reference to one another. Of course, the common ancestry and common responses to similar environments meant that certain basic similarities, or cultural universals, existed ...

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