Differences in verbal and nonverbal systems of language play a major role in intercultural communication. Obviously verbal language differences constitute a major stumbling block. Vocabulary, syntax, idioms, slang, pronunciation and dialects are troublemakers. Occasionally, however, even the best trained foreign language speaker in conversations with a native speaker will need to remind himself that his command of the language is not that of the native. Certain words or phrases may have numerous interpretation and non-native speakers must constantly remind themselves that these variations exist so they do not cling to one meaning regardless of connotation or context. Learning the language, which too many foreigners believe to be the only barrier to understanding, is actually only the beginning. To enter into a different culture, we must be able to sense the special meaning conveyed by space, time, posture, appearance, facial expressions and movements.

About 'which' in bold, what does it refer to? 'Leaning the language' or 'the language' only?
Hi Taka

I'd say it should refer to "language".
But when you examine the sentence, neither learning a language nor the language itself should be considered as a barrier. It is the lack of knowledge of the language that is a barrier. I suggest changing the wording of the sentence.

I've found a similar passage here in a published book. Maybe this is the original and what I have in hand is an edited version of this:

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Sorry it was diddicult to find the passage you're referring to. The 'Find' tab was there but it couldn't seem to locate the passage you're telling me about. The text is quite long and I can't do it (the finding) manually.
Could you just quote that passage?
It's in the highlighted part.

If you cannot still find it there, how about this?

http://www.google.co.jp/search?hl=ja&tbo=1&tbs=bks%3A1&q=%22+Learning+the+language%2C+which+most%... =
I see...well, in those contexts, the language is clearly the barrier...so again, which describes the language.

By the way, what's your Taka? Takayuki, Takahiko or Takanori or something else?Emotion: smile
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Initially, I thought that way.

But as you pointed out, language is basically something which breaks through the barrier between people, and that is part of communication.

Well sometimes it might be a barrier, but the problem is that the author says language consists of two kinds of systems, verbal and non-verbal, and to learners verbal language differences such as vocabulary, syntax, idioms, slang, pronunciation and dialects are troublemakers, a stumbling block. In other words, to those learning the language leaning the verbal systems of the language seems to be the only thing which is troublesome but they need to do anyway. However, that is not the only thing they need to break through; in order to enter into a different culture, they must learn the non-verbal systems.

So in this context it doesn't seem that the author is saying language itself is a barrier.

Now, what do you think?
lagataw Taka? Takayuki, Takahiko or Takanori or something else?
Close. But neither of them. It's secret.Emotion: smile
Sorry, I meant to say 'none of them' not 'neither of them'.
Hi Taka!

That's exacly the reason why I suggested rewording the clause. But in casual spoken/written English (if there is such a thing as casual written English), the word "language" would most likely imply the phrase 'language barrier'. But then again you don't need to "learn" the "language barrier". I would really rephrase it this way.
Learning the language, the lack of knowledge of which most foreigners believe to be the only barrier to understanding (other peoples), is only the beginning.
But this sounds very legalistically accurate, and thus awkward.

I would also render it this way:
Learning the language, which most foreigners believe to be the only hindering step to understanding (other peoples/cultures), is only the beginning.
In this version, however, the relative pronoun 'which' modifies 'learning the language' and not 'the language itself'.

And I would like to add that this sentence is a new general idea in the paragraph. It can be treated singly and independently of the words preceding it. You may well start another paragraph with this.

Hope this helps!


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