A foreign student should be familiar with the life, thought, and culture of the native people whose language he is learning, because foreign language learning can help build the spirit of international understanding and friendliness, which is essential to achieving world peace. According to W.M Rivers the foreign language should be learned in a close association as practicable with the culture of the country where it is spoken.

Students should be warned of the exciting differences between the cultures of different nations. They must realize that things familiar to one nation may be unheard of among people of other countries.

The second language learning involves the process of transferring cultural patterns of their source language to the target language. And this is the area where misunderstandings and even helplessness in interpretation occurs.

Culture is the “way of people”. These ways might be highly commended by several people who share that culture; while for others these might be repulsive, or even barbaric. Occasionally, like an Englishman, one might use understatement and say “Well, it’s very nice but it is not my cup of tea”. For others, these ways appear to constitute an area of darkness. Cultural problems in language learning sometimes arise because of this infrastructure of preconceived and hidebound nations. You cannot learn a new language unless you have a sympathetic understanding of the cultural setting of that language.

Cross cultural misunderstanding also arises if a person from an alien culture misinterprets a complex pattern when it has a different meaning across cultures.

Another source of misunderstanding arises, when foreign culture is approaches with preconceived nations, for example with the sort of ideas one get from a film- the result is not only misinformation and misunderstanding but also avoidable stresses and strains.

Simple terms in a friendly letter, such as ‘with love’, ‘ yours ever’ and so on are likely to be completely understood in the light of idea one gets from films and land those whose culture is, essentially different from the culture of a native speaker of English in a very embarrassing situation.

Misunderstanding of the culturally- determined bases for the reaction of the foreign people can develop in the students contempt for and hostility toward the speakers of the language they are learning.

1.      Informality and equality

The visitor to America is often surprised by the easy relationship between parent and children. By some, it’s regarded as weakness, locking firm, authoritarian live of control. But to those who understand the history of the country and how its entire social system developed, the informality is right understood as idealism in practice, or “democracy in actions”, the rights of the individual balanced by his responsibility in the family.

In Indonesian family, on the other hand, the parents-children relationship is formal. Children have to respect their parents in such a way; parents have a full command in family.

2.      Family life

The American family is small-two parents and their children. In Indonesia the family includes many other families under the same roof: grandparents, uncles and aunts, and their long distances relatives. But in America when two people is marry, they form a new unit of family, which is socially and financially independent. And still they have a strong abound to the rest of their big family.

written by : Mr. Ruwandi, MA

uploaded by: Marisa Fran Lina, S.PdI and Ratna Sari, S. PdI