"Age affects how people experience time.""Culture is not made up but something that evolves which is human.""For him to have understood me would have meant reorganizing his thinking... giving up his intellectual ballast, and few people are willing to risk such a radical move.""How man evolved with such an incredible reservoir of talent and such fantastic diversity isn't completely understood... he knows so little and has nothing to measure himself against.""I may be able to spot arrowheads on the desert but a refrigerator is a jungle in which I am easily lost.""Man is used to the fact that there are languages which he does not at first understand and which must be learned, but because art is primarily visual he expects that he should get the message immediately and is apt to be affronted if he doesn't.""Now, you can't tell me, we have the only God in the whole world. You can't tell me that nobody else has God.""The future for us is the foreseeable future. The South Asian, however, feels that it is perfectly realistic to think of a 'long time' in terms of thousands of years.""The information is in the people, not in your head.""The reason man does not experience his true cultural self is that until he experiences another self as valid he has little basis for validating his own self.""Two points that are very important points to remember and ask: Is it real and does it work?""We should never denigrate any other culture but rather help people to understand the relationship between their own culture and the dominant culture. When you understand another culture or language, it does not mean that you have to lose your own culture."
Born in Webster Groves, Missouri, Hall taught at the University of Denver, Colorado, Bennington College in Vermont, Harvard Business School, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University in Illinois and others. The foundation for his lifelong research on cultural perceptions of space was laid during World War II when he served in the U.S. Army in Europe and the Philippines.
From 1933 through 1937 Hall lived and worked with the Navajo and the Hopi on native American reservation in northwestern Arizona, the subject of his autobiographical West of the Thirties. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1942 and continued with field work and direct experience throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. During the 1950s he worked for the United States State Department, at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), teaching inter-cultural communications skills to foreign service personnel, developed the concept of "High context culture" and "low context culture", and wrote several popular practical books on dealing with cross-cultural issues. He is considered a founding father of intercultural communication as an academic area of study.
Hall first created the concept of proxemics. In his book, The Hidden Dimension, he describes the subjective dimensions that surround each of us and the physical distances one tries to keep from other people, according to subtle cultural rules.
In The Silent Language (1959), Hall coined the term polychronic to describe the ability to attend to multiple events simultaneously, as opposed to "monochronic" individuals and cultures who tend to handle events sequentially.
In 1976, he released his third book, Beyond Culture, which is notable for having developed the idea of extension transference; that is, that humanity's rate of evolution has and does increase as a consequence of its creations, that we evolve as much through our "extensions" as through our biology. However; with extensions such as the wheel, cultural values, and warfare being technology based, they are capable of much faster adaptation than genetics.
Robert Shuter, a well-known intercultural and cross-cultural communication researcher, commented: "Edward Hall's research reflects the regimen and passion of an anthropologist: a deep regard for culture explored principally by descriptive, qualitative methods.... The challenge for intercultural communication... is to develop a research direction and teaching agenda that returns culture to preeminence and reflects the roots of the field as represented in Edward Hall's early research."
He died at his home on July 20, 2009 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.