I do want everyone to know that I appreciate all the responses I got to the last set of questions and rest assured, I am going to be using the responses I got - indeed, they are an integral part of this whole project. I would appreciate even those who did not respond to the first questions to respond to these. I will write a blog post about why I asked these and the others, as well as posting the paper that I am going to write, using the responses to these posts as something like the core of the paper.
I would also like to mention again - even if the response you have for any or all the questions has been given, please respond anyways. And again, if you are a professional (i.e. anthropologist, sociologist, psychologist, please refrain from responding in comments. I would be happy to get your response via email, but I would prefer that your response not bias other responses.
First, I am going to define culture for the context of these questions - actually defining culture in a few ways that differ, but are not mutually exclusive. For the sake of simplicity, I am going to write them separately - though they will get melded some in the questions.
Culture = the human capacity to define experience through symbols (language) and communicate experiences using the symbols that define it.
Culture = an experience that is shared by the members of a particular language community, transmitted from one generation to another, through the use of symbols.
Culture = a common interest shared by several humans that includes language specific to that common interest. This common interest may transcend shared language communities, but includes symbols specific to that interest - though the specific symbols used may differ from language group to language group, the meaning of the symbols are consistent.
For the first question, let us assume you are part of a particular culture that transcends shared language communities - please consider this in the context of a culture that applies to you (i.e. SciFi, Comic books, a specific discipline of science, etc.).
Which would it be easier for you to share something interesting you have discovered about your interest;
Someone who is a member of your language community, but not your culture? or Someone who is part of a different language community, but is as strong a part of your culture as you are? Assume for the latter that you have no shared language and that even the symbols specific to your culture might be somewhat different.
Assume that you are trying to engage someone from a different language community than your own and that you do not share common language (aside from a couple of words that you think you might recognize). You have to communicate with this person, but all you have are each other. You are in your home, while this is taking place. How would you go about trying to communicate with this person?
Now you are trying to communicate with someone who is part of your language community. You want to explain a very common, integral aspect of your culture to this person, who is not a part of the culture you are trying to talk about. How would you go about this?
Finally, you are trying to communicate with someone who is part of your language community about a common, integral aspect of your culture, who while not being a part of that culture, does have a different shared culture with you. Would you explain it differently to them, than you did the last person? How?
To provide contextual examples for the last two questions - I am an exceedingly hard-core scifi/fantasy geek (though I have never been to a con). I am currently going through a series of books that I started in the nineties, but gave up on afraid the author was likely to die before he finished them (at that point, nine books in, following the same plot line, same characters). Now it is going to be completed, in spite of the author dying, so I have started over. This series (The Wheel of Time) has a rather peculiar system of magic - not even going to try to explain, suffice to say it is complicated and it is also entirely integral to the books and the cultures described in them.
For the first question, it would be like trying to explain this system of magic to someone who absolutely loathes fictional writing. For the second, it would be like trying to explain this to someone loves particularly well written crime fiction (i.e. Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard) like I do, but who has never really gotten into scifi/fantasy.