Positive politeness; showing interest in a person’s well being; sharing experiences and concerns;
expressing admiration, affection and gratitude; offering gifts, hospitality, promising future favors.
Not to be confused with “impoliteness”. Being aware you may be causing offence/discomfort to
other person and apologizing:
I hope you don’t mind me asking but…
I know it’s late but do you have a few moments…
Using “hedging” expressions such as You’re…aren’t you? Don’t
I think or tag or negative questions
you think?... in case there is disagreement.
Speaker A: You like in a city in Argentina. A new neighbor has moved into the area from another
country, and you want to be friendly. Invite you new neighbor to a traditional south America
barbecue, with lots of great local beef!
Speaker B: You have just arrived in Argentina from another country. You are settling in, but the
reasons, you don’t eat meat.
diet is difficult. For health
Speaker A: You and your family live in a large block of flats. You have two children in their late
teens. Last week, you and your husband/wife went away on holiday for few days, leaving your kids
at home. just moved into a large block of flats. You have a new job, and you’re working
Speaker B: You have
hard. Unfortunately, you neighbor is having lots of parties at night. The music is so laud that you
cannot sleep. Go to your neighbor and complain about the noise.
An American and a Chinese professor of English are attending a conference. At the opening
reception, the American professor notices the Chinese professor is standing alone and looks lonely.
The American decides to say “hello”.
May I introduce myself? I’m Professor Joe William from UCLA.
American professor: Good evening.
Good evening. My name’s Xao Zheng.
Chinese professor: I’m delighted to meet you, Professor Zheng. Have you travelled far to the
conference? Yes, I’ve travelled
Chinese professor: from Shanghai.
Hi there, how’re you doing? I’m Joe Williams from UCLA.
Hello. My name’s Xao Zheng.
American professor: Pleased to meet you, Xao. Where are you from? Beijing?
No, I’m from Shanghai.
Depends on complex mix of:
Identity, role and relationship
Unlikely (?) costumer service conversation
Yes, what do you want? I want a new SIM card. Give me the old one. Here. Check it. Damaged,
– computer’s busy at the moment. No, I’m
maybe, who knows. Give me a new one then. Just wait
in a hurry. Well come back later then. No way.
Directness and indirectness
How could you say that in different ways?
The key role of modality in intercultural communication.
It’s necessary to take action.
1. It’s not necessary to take action.
3. It would be a good idea to take action.
It isn’t possible for us to take action.
4. It’s possible we will take action.
6. It would have been a good idea to take action.
It wasn’t a good idea to take action, but we did.
7. It was possible for us to take action, but we didn’t.
8. It wasn’t necessary to take action, so we didn’t.
9. It wasn’t necessary to take action, but we did.
The tact maxim
“Minimize and […] maximize the benefit to hearer. It means, for example, that in
cost to hearer,
proposing some action, the speaker should bias the illocution towards a positive outcome by
restricting the hearer’s opportunity of saying no”.
Keeping options open:
Being polite, co-operative.
(where conflict possible)
Being authoritative and directive.
you like to…?
-Would you like me to…?
would be happy to…
-I it be better to…
-I should be going
-You should try…
-You ought to take an umbrella.
Send the article. Send the article, please.Can you send the article, please?Could you send the
article, do you think? Do you think you could send the article? I wonder if you could send the
you mind sending the article, because I’m afraid..
article. Would I was wondering if you could
send the article, if that’s not inconvenient? I was wondering if you could possibly send the article
if it’s not too much trouble?
“Professor, I was wondering if you could tell us about the Chamber of Secrets.” (Hermione in
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 2002)
Notes British orientation for indirect communication:
In a restaurant in Bristol, for example, it’s totally unacceptable to literally translate the type of
conversation that you might have in a restaurant in Bologna. If you say I want to change my table,
staring right into the waiter’s eyes, you will convince everyone present that you are a public danger
to society. I’m afraid this table isn’t too convenient.
The best approach is to say
MODULE 2 LESSON 3
A lot of intercultural communication is
Pleasant and trouble-free (luckily).
sometimes… an example.
Hillary Clinton on a trip to Africa 2009: Congolese student asks Hilary Clinton about Chinese and
World Bank involvement in Republic of Congo.
“What does Mr. Clinton think about it?” (he asked through an interpreter)
“You want me to tell you about what my husband thinks? My husband isn’t Secretary of
State, I’m. You asked my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I’m not going to be channeling my
“I meant, Barak Obama!”
Mauranen (2006): misunderstanding is a potential breakdown point in conversation or at least some
kind of communicative turbulence.
Why do we misunderstand each other?
Lack of language knowledge, often lexically based.
Pragmatic “mismatch”. There’s a studio behind here…
Locutionary act (meaning of words used) and illocutionary act (what is intended by speaker).
“Oh, is it nice?” – “Ok, I’ll keep the noise down.”
Example 1 of pragmatic mismatch: inappropriate transfer.
A: Is it a good restaurant?
B: Of course.
For B: O courseYes, indeed it is.
For A: What a stupid question…
Impact of first language on use of second language.
Example 2: mismatch in how something is said.
Gumperz pointed out that the rising intonation versus falling intonation made it a very difficult
statement, even though the word was the same. So rising intonation sounded like “Would you like
gravy?” “This in gravy. Take it or leave it.”
and falling intonation sounded like
Example 3: mismatch in “schemas”
What are “schemas”? accumulated knowledge and experience of familiar situations. Often
culturally-specific. Used to make sense of situation and guide behavior.
Factual and/or conceptual schemas
You’re paying for your goods at the checkout in a UK supermarket. You hand over your debit card-
“Any cash back?”
what would you expect the cashier to say? What does it mean? How do you
Misunderstanding, like accidents, will always happen…
So what can I do to reduce them in intercultural context?
Metacommunication. What? Communicating and communication. Anything that supports the acual
Never heard it
But you’re using it all the time: please ask me any questions at the end; I’m talking to you as a
friend; don’t use that kind of language in front of your grandparents; I was only joking; I’m asking
that because…; let’s be open with each other; when said you weren’t happy what were you
referring to?; I notice you mentioned that…
Why is it useful?
It helps you understand what’s going on. Transparency and openness in communication. May be
useful for dealing with misunderstandings. May mean you avoid saying/doing the wrong thing or
expressing it in inappropriate way.
Need to use metacommunication carefully and effectively…
Why is it you always use your right hand for eating?... in Arab/Asian countries, will cause
embarrassment. When I asked the others about their family I notice they were uncomfortable, was
there any reason for that?... will probably not cause embarrassment.
Confirmation checks: was my question clear? Did I understand that correctly?
“No, what I really meant to say was…” “Maybe
Self-repair; rephrasing or elaborating own speech:
that’s a bit strong, perhaps XXX is a better word.”
I’d love to like in Helsinki, because it has everything and it’s so much nicer to like there.
Teacher: Well, the grass is always greener on the other side.
Student: What grass? Where?
Well, it’s an expression meaning that things always seem better somewhere
Teacher: else, like a
place you cannot go.
Adjusting your speech to the listener’s need. This is not the best way to do it. Foreigner talk by
native speakers - patronizing over accommodation. Can be used by non-native speakers in ELF
An example of accommodation
I was a little bit concerned about the way you dealt with the problem, because I think your approach
was a little bit over the top in terms of making people feel somewhat awkward.
Do you think you approached the problem in the best way?
MODULE 2 LESSON 4
What is the difference between hearing and listening?
Hearing is a reflex, one of the senses. It’s possible to hear without listening.
Listening is a conscious act, can be improved, as with any skill.
To get useful information.
To understand someone’s values and attitudes.
To provide emotional support to someone.
To build rapport and create a positive impression.
To check their competence/expertise in a particular area.
“Those who know do not talk. Those who talk do not know.” Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching.
Listening stiles, which is yours?
I listen in silence. I just concentrate on understanding the other person.
I like to make comments as I listen, like interesting or really? to show interest in what the speaker is
I ask a lot of questions when I listen to check I have really understood.
Sometimes I’m not very patient and I interrupt, especially if the speaker is talking and talking and
not really saying anything.
I never interrupt people-
School teaches us to read, write and speak, but rarely focuses on the skill of listening. Listening
skills are key in any relationship. Listening often misunderstood as a passive activity. Better to view
listening an active experience that requires attentive engagement with the speaker.
Different listening styles
People-focused, listeners-relationship prioritized.
A question of attitude
The speaker is saying something important
Respecting the speaker’s style of speaking
Not assuming understanding
“I see”, “Yes”, “Interesting”, “Ok”, etc…
Friendly, informal tone of voice
Using short statements and questions when appropriate
Suitable facial expressions and natural smile
Open posture (rather than crossed arms)
Regular eye contact (but don’t overdo it)
Appropriate distance (usually arm’s length)
Open-ended questions are ones that require more than a yes or no answer, getting the bigger picture.
Usually start with what or how:
How do you see things changing?
What do you think is the problem?
What do you see as the most important issue?
What have you thought of?
What would you like to do about…?
Care with questions that suggest you know the answer to the question (You don’t really want to
Avoid leading questions
do that do you? Are you seriously thinking of doing it that way?).
speaker justify his or her actions or motives (Why didn’t you
Avoid whyquestions that require the
try to solve the problem that way?). “interrogated”.
Avoid too many questions as that may suggest to the speakers that they are being
Clarifying expressions and also silence (a brief pause) encourage people to talk. Increase the length
of your pauses to encourage the other person to talk more. Culturally variable: avoid excessively
long periods of silence as that may be interpreted as a lack of interest or attention.
Metalanguage- key to a good listener
Using keyword approach:
To clarify information you said before you need that stuff urgently. How urgent is urgent
you’re upset about it. What’s caused that?
To clarify feelingsyou say
Other features of effective listening
Avoid strong reactions
Stay focused on other person
Gender and listening
you just don’t understand.
That’s not what I meant.
You just don’t understand…
Females engage in “rapport-talk” a communication style meant to promote social affiliation and
Males engage in “report-talk” communication to give and get information, to affirm their status.
Men and women intercultural communication
Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
What I’m saying is- –is
Harry: and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form that men and
women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is not sex involved.
No you don’t.
Sally: Yes I do.
No you don’t.
Sally: Yes I do.
Harry: You only think you do.
Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry: I guess not Sally.
That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York .
MODULE 2 LESSON 5
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Effective speaking in intercultural contexts
“Interactive” approach to communication.
Give your own opinion (briefly), speaking clearly and slowly enough according to the other
person’s language proficiency/knowledge of the topic.
Use language the other person is likely to know and understand easily.
Give the other person a chance to speak; handover by saying: do you see what I mean? Can you see
my point? Yes,but…
Acknowledge what they say and avoid giving negative feedback on their opinions.
Focus on areas of agreement, common ground, polite disagreement where appropriate.
A key element of speaking clearly
Your personal communication style
Fast speaker Slow speaker
Physical Loud Quiet
Informational Long and complex Short and simple
Psychological Introverted Extroverted
Criticism of Kaplan “Such characterizations sound dangerously ethnocentric.
Claire Kramsch (2001: 203) observes:
They show the difficulty of expressing one culture in terms of another without sounding critical or
Trompenaars tone of voice
When is it appropriate to enter a conversation while another person is speaking?
only when they’ve finished
a) you’ve got something important to say
c) whenever you like
Cultural differences in discussions
What language do you have available if you want to interrupt a person?
Can I just come in here?
May I just say something else?
Could I just make a point?
Do you mind if I interrupt?
And if you don’t want to be interrupted…
Could I just finish?
I’ve nearly finished..
Or you want to continue…
As I was saying…
Coming back to what I was saying about…
D Describe: collecting information on what we see or hear.
I Interpret: we make a judgment on the meaning of what we see or hear.
E Evaluate: we feel something or have and emotional reaction.
Need to slow down this process when working with other cultures: stop at D phase.
on “Flexible thinking”
Craig StortiArt of Crossing Cultures
The ability to interpret situation, problems, practices from multiple perspectives, from the way other
people see them, is a tremendous benefit.
Flexible thinking model
1. Observe situation carefully.
2. Find out more information.
3. Interpret situation from different perspectives.
4. Act positively.
MODULE 3 LESSON 1
DEALING WITH SPECIFIC CULTURES
Bur first.. sum up of module 2
Politeness saying right thing
Misunderstanding schemas, repair, accommodation
Active listening skills (also gender)
D-I-E observing, non-judgmental
Council of Europe
Knowledge of the shared values and beliefs held by social groups in other countries and religions,
taboos, assumed common history… are essential for intercultural
such as religious beliefs,
You’re meeting a businessman to discuss some work. He’s wearing a dark suit. What could
Why aren’t you wearing a __________ ?
Stereotyping and essentializing.
Is it possible to talk of a European culture? What about a Far Eastern one? What are some important
differences between Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultures? What are the differences between
Welsh and English culture? US and Canadian? Belgian and Dutch? What about sub-cultures?
Christianity more widespread in southern India.
Many S. Indians with surnames such as John, Henry, Titus, Aaron, missionary names.
More followers of Islam in north India.
6 cultural differences between south and north India that stand out bluntly.
Racial origins: north Indians are descendants of the Aryan race while the south Indians are
descendants of Dravidian race. The racial difference is visible in their general appearance:
the north Indians are taller, stronger, fairer and heavily built when compared to the south
Dressing styles: whereas the women in north prefer salwar kameez or chudidaar, in south
Sari is the preferred attire, especially after marriage. The half-sari, which is popular in rural
south India, is seldom seen in the north. Every religion has a different style in which women
wear their saris.
Language: Dravidian language is unrelated to languages of other known families like Indo-
European. The languages spoken by the North Indian people belong to the Indo-Aryan
family which is closely related to modern European languages. Another division seen is that
the North Indian languages are inflectional in nature while the South Indian languages are
Music:the classical music of India can be divided into Hindustani and Carnatic music which
originates from north and south respectively. Muslim’s invasion, while
Dance: the dance of north like Kathak has been influenced by the
the dances of south have maintained their originality.
Food: south Indian food is spicer and hotter than the northern. South consume more rice,
while north have wheat. North food derive from wheat flour, while in south is common to
mix rice and different lentils. In south they consume more fish and coconut that the north.
Can we group people together by the common language they speak? English-speaking/Spanish-
Theoretical construct only a potential map.
What can you do to prepare for living and studying/working in another country? What things do
you need to find out?
Salutations, form of address; gift-giving; religious beliefs; food, eating habits; attitudes to time;
what to wear, dress; gestures.
Making the best of what’s available
Be wary of validity and accuracy of what you’re reading. Talking to people, checking out what
you’ve read or heard. Can’t prepare for every possible situation.
What to expect:
High context approach
Fluid time approach
MODULE 3 LESSON 2
COUNTRY SPECIFICS FOCUS ON JAPAN
Some basicsHow to distinguish between Japanese and Chinese culture?
1. Know the different languages that belong to either country
2. Be aware of how geography has shaped the two cultures
3. Know the different types of dishes that are native to either China or Japan
4. Know what type of governing body rules the respective nations
Chinese holidays and Japanese holidays and how they’re
5. Know the difference between
6. Learn the difference between Chinese name and Japanese names
7. Know the different religions that are practiced in China and Japan
Working in Japan
-Japan’s values achievement, money making, assertiveness and competition. According to
this information, Japan’s culture is:
-In countries such as Mexico and Japan, people address one another with titles such as Señor Smith
or Smith-san. Which of the following cultural dimensions best explains this behavior?
a.individualismb.short-therm orientation c.high uncertainty avoidance d.femininitye.high power
Good to know
Bowing: in Japan customary and expected that that two people bow a greeting and a goodbye to one
Dinner etiquette: before beginning a meal, it is polite to say itadokimaso, which is translated to
mean I humbly receive.
whether it’s a waiter, a taxi driver or a bartender, tipping
Tipping: not expected.
Taking off shoes.
Public behavior: eating in public or talking on the phone is considered extremely rude in Japanese
culture. Blowing your nose in public is also extremely offensive.
Some commonly stated or observed core values are:
Thinking of others
Doing your best
Not giving up
Respecting your elders
Knowing your role and working in a group.
Japanese values reflected in phrases used in daily interactions, aimed at smoothing relationships and
acknowledging presence of others.
When entering in a store, restaurant, back or post office, the entire staff welcomes you with
irasshai-mase and say arigatoogozaimasu when you leave.
High context hall
Primarily use non-verbal methods to relay meaningful information in conversations, such as facial
expressions, eye movement and tone of voice. Situation, people and non-verbal elements are more
important than the actual words communicated. Preferred way of solving problems and learning is
in groups. Emphasis on interpersonal relationships. Trust needed before any kind of business
transaction can begin.
Crucial in Japanese society. Turning down request may cause embarrassment and loss of face to the
it’s inconvenient it’s under
other person. If request cannot be agreed to, people may say, or
Face associated with personal dignity and status with respect to one’s peers.
Essential to not cause loss of face so be wary of: openly criticizing, insulting or putting someone in
a difficult situation.
Another key rule
Harmony in Japanese society.
Guiding philosophy for many Japanese in family and business settings and in society as a
Emphasis on the interdependence of all people in Japanese educational system.
Japanese children are not raised to be independent, but rather to work together.
Emphasis on politeness, personal responsibility and working together for the universal,
rather than the individual good.
Disagreeable facts are presented in a gentle and indirect fashion.
Working in harmony crucial ingredient for working productively.
Reported differences between Japanese and American students
Differences in learning styles between the two cultures:
- In American culture: active initiation of discussion and spontaneous and detailed comments
are encouraged. (samovar and Porter, 2001)
- In Japanese culture: attentive listening and brief comments after contemplation are expected.
(Kindaichi, 1988) –
A practical example of high context communication Wakimae (honorifics)
Three levels of communication:
1. Meta communication whether or not to say something, who speaks, when and where they
speak, how to take turns.
2. Meta pragmatics the territory of information, who knows what, who knows the most, use
it’s alleged… it may be that…;
of modals and similar, to specify source of information: also
the formality of the situation, relationship between the speakers.
3. Propositional communication speakers say the actual propositional content.7
Key feature of Japanese culture, not an optional; an alternative to face.
Ide (1992): “speaking within the confines of Wakimae isn’t an act of expressing the speaker’s
intention, but rather of complying with socially expected norms the speaker’s attention is paid not
of him/her by social norms.”
to what he/she intends to express, but rather to what is expected
Translation? Discernment the ability to see and understand people, things or situations clearly
A Japanese seminar
Ide: “students keep listening to the professor speaking, sometimes nodding but not uttering any
sound until the professor yields the floor to the students. Given the floor, the students speak,
observing what to say and how to say it, they speak within the constraints of the allowed topic.
There is less spontaneity allowed to the students that the professor.” (1992, pg. 300)
The Japanese students’ perspectives in the US
Several of my classmates and I spent much time organizing our opinion. Then the teacher said: “if
you don’t discuss your ideas, there is no point in attending this class. Please go home.”
Gender role in Japan
Common Japanese proverbgood wife, wise mother.
Still common social belief that it’s in the woman’s, her children’s and society’s best interest for her
to stay home and devote herself to her children.
But cultural change well underway…
Japanese women are joining the labor force in large numbers. Around 50% of the workforce is
comprised of women. One important change: married women have begun to participate in the
On Gung Ho
This is such a splendid piece of work and maybe the best movie of Michael Keaton. At the time in
Europe and America, the prejudice to Japan had been still filled. So, in this movie, portrait of the
Japanese are very strange and very different from the real Japanese. But, recently, many people in
the world respect and adore Japan and Japanese culture. This is really ironical.
Lost in translation
“Bob and Charlotte suffer a bit of white privilege, or at least as the film shows it. They struggle a
bit withJapanese culture and feel like massive outsiders. This really changes how they feel about
the place and how they feel about themselves. It’s not often to we see a film about white Westerners
so this is something quite unique and valuable about what the film achieves.”
White privilege is a term for societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries
beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political or
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher ilaria.maestrini di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingua inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Ca' Foscari Venezia - Unive o del prof Philips David.
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