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Language and Intercultural Communication

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Jessica Spomer

on 30 April 2013

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Transcript of Language and Intercultural Communication

Why is Language Important In Intercultural Communication? Social Science Perspective Interpretive Perspective on Language Critical Perspective on Language Questions,
last remarks?? The Nominalist Position:
The view that perception is not shaped by the particular language one speaks. Interpretive Perspective Critical Perspective Thank you! Language and Intercultural Communication Morgan Dunmire & Jessica Spomer Language is the first barrier encountered in intercultural interactions is closely tied with our and others' identities it is a central element in the intercultural communication process What's Ahead: cultural variations of language relationships between language and power & language and identity issues of multilingualism, translation and interpretation language and identity, language policies and politics & globalization focuses on the individual aspects of language use: the components of language, language perception and thought, the way cultural groups use language in different ways, the barriers presented by these variations Components of Language Semantics: The study of meaning-how individual words communicate the meanings we intend

Syntactics: The study of the structure, or grammar- the rules for combining words into meaningful sentences. Order of words is important.

Pragmatics: The study of how meaning is constructed in relation to receivers, how language is actually used in particular contexts in language communities

Phonetics: The study of the sound system of language- how words are pronounced which units of sounds (phonemes) are meaningful for a specific language and which sounds are universal. Language and Perception The Relativist Position:
The view that the particular language individuals speak, especially the structure of the language, shapes their perception of reality and cultural patterns. What is "Political Correctness"? Can you think of some cultural examples that show different perceptions of reality? Qualified Relativist Position:
The view that the particular language we speak influences are perception but does not completely determine our perception Recent Research Findings 1. Language Acquisition in Children 2. Cross-Cultural Differences in Language 3. Cognition of Children Who Are Deaf language and thought are so closely related that it is difficult to speak of one as it is difficult to speak of one as initiating influence over the other. (Is this a more realitivist or nominalist position?) Do groups with different language labels perceive the world in different ways? Examples? research in determining if children who are deaf or have limited language have diminished ability in perception or logical thinking. Language Acquisition: the process of learning language Language and Thought: Metaphor Metaphor: expression where a word (or words) is used outside of its normal conventional meaning to express a similar concept. "Metaphors are a 'major an indispensable part of our ordinary conventional way of conceptualizing the world, and that our everyday behavior reflects our metaphorical understanding of experience (232).'" Cultural Variations in Communication Style Communication Style:
the metamessage that contextualizes how listeners are expected to accept and interpret verbal messages. Metamessage: The meaning of a message that tells others how they should respond to the content of our communication based on our relationship to them. High-context communication:
A style of communication in which much of the information is contained in the contexts and nonverbal cues rather than expressed explicity in words. Low-context Communication:
A style of communication in which much of the information is conveyed in words rather than in nonverbal cues and contexts. Direct v. Indirect Styles: the extent to which speakers reveal their intentions through explicit verbal communication and emphasizes low context communication. A style which verbal messages reveal the speaker's true intentions, needs, wants, and desires. a "softer" way to communicate, typically includes contextual cues. Emphasizes high-context communication Elaborate v. Understated
Styles: the degree to which talk is used the use of rich, expressive language in everyday talk. value in succinct, simple assertions and silence. Slang and Humor in Language Use What are some examples of "slang"? Why is slang important? inventive and creative
establishes a sense of community identity
important to youth cultures
can be percieved as a barrier to those outside of the language group so... what about humor? cultural language variation difficulties
challenging in a foreign language
can reflect and perpetuate negative stereotypes "It is not easy to interpret language use from other people's perspectives (238)!" Social Science Perspective on Language focuses on an in depth understanding of communication use in context and how communication practices may vary from one cultural context to another Variations in Contextual Rules the particular communication style we use may vary from context to context Are there rules which apply in certain contexts (with regards to language and communication) that don't apply in others? "Think of the many contexts in which you communicate during the day- classroom, family, work, and so on- and about how you alter your communication to suit these contexts (239)." in order to use language effectively in intercultural encounters, we need to understand the role of power and of power differentials in these encounters Co- Cultural Communication Describes how language works between dominant and non dominant (or co-cultural) groups. What does this mean? Co-cultural group members must function in communication systems that often do not represent their experiences and groups with the most power formulate a communication system that supports their perception of the world. How can co-cultural groups relate to the dominant groups? Assimilation Strategies: Accomodation Strategies Separation Strategies non assertive assertive agressive emphasize commonalities, be self monitoring, avoid controversy downplay co-cultural differences, try to fit into existing structures, will tell people how they feel from time to time emphasize fitting in, prove they are like members of the dominant group non assertive assertive aggresive blending into the dominant group but tactfully challenging the dominant structure to recognize co-cultural practices strike a balance between concerns of co-cultural and dominant group members involve moving into the dominant structures and then working from within to prmote significant changes-no matter the personal cost. non assertive assertive aggressive used by those that assume some segregation is part of everyday life. reflect a concious choice to maintain space between dominant and co-cultural groups used by those for whom co-cultural segregation is an important priority Discourse and Social Structure the places from which people speak that are socially constructed and thus embedded with assumptions about gender, race, class, age, social role, sexuality, etc. Societies are structured so individuals occupy social positions The "Power" Effects of Labels acknowledge particular aspects of our social identity What are some examples of social "labels"?
context matters
without labels, it would be nearly impossible to function
communicate many levels of meaning
many times, these labels are spoken without any knowledge or understanding of their meanings, origin, or current implications Discourse is tied closely to social structure, so messages communicated through the use of labels depend greatly on the social position of the speaker.

If the speaker is in a position of power, they may potentially have an even greater impact.

Context Matters, and labels are small but powerful! Power, Discourse, and Labels "We need to understand the role of power and of power differentials in these encounters (240-241)." Moving Between Languages
"Language and culture are so inextricably intertwined that to learn a new language is to gain insight into another culture and another world (249). " What are some reasons for learning a foreign language? Bilingual
The ability to speak two languages fluently or at least competently.

The ability to speak more than two languages fluently or at least competently.

A kind of communication that emerges when speakers of one language are speaking in another language. The native language semantics, syntactics, pragmatics, phonetics, and language styles often overlap and create a third way of comunicating. Translation and Interpretation The process of producing a written text that refers to something said or written in another language. source text: original language of a translation
target text: the text which it is translated into The process of verbally expressing what is said or written in another language Issues of Equivalency and Accuracy Flexibility in expression v. limited range of words.

Equivalency: An issue in translation, the condition of being equal in meaning, value, quantity, and so on. The Role of the Translator or Interpreter The roles they play as intermediaries often regulate how they render the original text.

Translation is more than merely switching languages, it also involves negotiating cultures. Act as sorts of "cultural brokers".

Task requires more than simply knowing two languages. Language and Identity Language and Cultural Group Identity the languages we speak, and the languages others think we should speak can create barriers in intercultural communication. Code Switching technical term in communication that refers to the phenomenon of changing languages, dialects, or even accents.

Code switching does not just demonstrate linguistic competence but, also communicates important information about ethnic identities and social position. What examples of code switching can you think of? Language Politics and Policies What is the official language of the United States? Language Policies
Laws or customs that determine when and where which language will be spoken.

Often emerge from politics of language use.

Embedded in the politics of class, culture, ethnicity, and economics.

Developed as a way of protecting minority languages so these languages do not disappear. Examples of language policies? Language and Globalization Rapid changes are being made in the languages spoken and learned.

Communication technologies & globalization has had influence on how languages are used and misused. Impacts How many languages are there in the world? Languages are disappearing! How is language used? How do we communicate? Differences in language between generations? lingua franca
A commonly shared language that is used as a medium of communication between people of different languages. How do culture, communication, power, and context play out in the domination of English? Diffusion of English is tied to the spread of US American culture around the world. Is this a new form of colonialism? Things to consider: What kind of resentment might be fostered by forcing people to recognize their disempowerment? What languages should US Americans be studying in order to communicate better with others in global contexts? Should foreign languages be a requirement of general education and higher education? "Globalization, along with technology, has affected how languages are used or not used. Globalization has meant that English has become more important world wide but also has created other intercultural communication conflicts (268)." Loss of language trying to become like the dominant group adapting to the dominant group remaining independent from the dominant group Dialectical Perspective

dynamic intercultural contexts of language Personal-Contextual Dialectic

individual influences, importance of context Static-dynamic Dialectic

Language v. discourse
relationship between language, meaning, perception

components of language=static, use of language= dynamic Can you think of an instance when people may speak to each other using the same words, but two different meanings are communicated? Assimilation, Accommodation, Separation
Aggressive, Assertive, or Non-Assertive These items which need to be considered show again the necessity of considering how intercultural communication and language are interrelated and interdependent disciplines.
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