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Beyond misunderstanding. Linguistic analysis of International business communication Jan D. ten Thije Universiteit van Utrecht

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1 Beyond misunderstanding. Linguistic analysis of International business communication Jan D. ten Thije Universiteit van Utrecht

2 Structure Beyond misunderstanding – the linguistic analyses of 1. discursive interculture 2. perspectivizing cultures 3. receptive multilingualism Conclusions

3 Approaches to intercultural discourse Clyne 1994, Bührig / ten Thije 2005 Contrastive Approach compares native discourse across cultures Interlanguage Approach examines the discourse of non-natives in a second language. Interactive Inter-cultural Approach concentrates on the discourse of people of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds

4 Pitfalls in interactive intercultural studies Koole & ten Thije 1994 ‘Minimum object’: reduction of intercultural communication to misunderstandings ‘Maximum interpretation’: explanation of too many discourse phenomena from the intercultural relationship between the speakers involved.

5 Beyond Misunderstanding (1) ten Thije 2003a Thematising or unthematising of ethnicity in international project (R, NL, D, DK) – German colleague: „Der Koordinationsleiter heißt doch Kees, Ja gibt's guten Käse, oder?“ Pragmatic definition of culture: culture is a collective standard solution to collective standard problems Action theory functions the theoretical connection between the analysis of culture and language Discursive interculture: common ground for intercultural discourse

6 Beyond Misunderstanding (2) ten Thije 2006 Beyond misunderstanding: successful intercultural interaction, i.e. intercultural understanding Interaction can only be successful if the participants share, or can establish, a basis of common knowledge including action presuppositions Communicative apparatus of perspectivising: bridges differences in common action presuppositions by making assumptions about the cultural fore-knowledge of the interaction partner 6

7 Perspectivising culture Ten Thije 2003, 2006 depending on the cultural constellation of discourse, speakers indicate whether their share cultural knowledge with their hearers if presupposed that hearer lacks important knowledge to interpret the discourse properly, it was perspectivised: by insertion of extra information or reformulation 7

8 The interpreter prespectives Primary speaker Russian interpreter 1Alec.. 2may I bring another toast... 3In Holland I am not used to bring so many toasts. а в Голландии не принято говорить столько много тостов, In Holland one is not used to give so many toast 4..но вот But 5..здесь в России Here in Russia 6..вот он бы хотел сказать еще один тост He would like to give another one See also ten Thije 2009

9 Apparatus of perspectivising ten Thije 2006 Step 1: by generalising, an interactor verbalizes the knowledge of the propositional content as a cultural standard. Step 2: by perspectivising, the speaker transmits the knowledge of the propositional content in the actual speech situation by taking into account cultural standards of the other. Step 3: by contrasting cultures, the speaker enables the hearer to compare the speaker’s cultural standards with his own and attain an adequate interpretation of the discourse.

10 Trabant-corpus Biographical narrations about experiences with the GDR-car Trabant Different cultural constellations: – intracultural: WG-WG, EG-EG – intercultural: EG-WG, EG-D, WG-D 10

11 ‘Westfarbe’ - west paint ten Thije 2003 Event Der war grün und die fanden das besonders, daß der Großvater 'n grünen Trabi hatte. It was green, and they considered it very special that Grandfather had a green Trabi Step 1: generalising Das muß was Besonderes gewesen sein von der Farbe her, weil das nicht normal war. That must have been something special because of the colour, because that was not normal. Step 2: Perspectivizing Alles Sachen, die mir suspekt und mir als Westdeutscher fremd waren. All things that were completely suspicious for me and strange for me as West German. Step 3: Contrasting Weil die stolz waren, daß der diese komische grüne Farbe hatte, die ich furchtbar häß­lich fand. Because they were proud that it had this funny green colour that I found terribly ugly. Coda Die fanden das klasse und ich konnte das nicht nachvollziehen. Das ist mein erstes bewußtes Erlebnis. They liked it very much and I could not understand it at all. That is the first experience I can recall

12 Beyond Misunderstanding (3) ten Thije & Zeevaert 2006 Receptive multilingualism: speaking your own language is the ultimate mode of intercultural discourse Institutional key words as common ground: zaterduitsdag (‘Sater-german-day’) Receptive multilingualism is an alternative for English as lingua franca in Europe

13 Receptive multilingualism Ribbert & ten Thije 2006, Beerkens et al 2009 Case study im Goethe Institute Amsterdam – Dutchman: "It is much easier. I can express myself more easily and more precisely with respect to important details or when I am joking. It costs less energy, less effort, less reflection and I can react instantly." – German: “When everybody is allowed to speak his first language, democracy comes into being." Case study Dutch German border

14 Lingua Receptiva ten Thije, Rehbein, Verschik 2009 A Lingua Receptiva is a vehicle for effective communication between members of diverse language communities while using different languages simul­ taneously to reach mutual understanding. The research questions focus on adequate LaRa communication strategies and on coping with potential conflict constellations in specific settings, as border regions, institutional discourse, and cross-generational commu­nication, including basic abilities.

15 Research designs to go beyond misunderstanding L 1 vs. L 2 cross cultural pragmatics C 1 - ICC 1/2 - C 2 : contrasting intercultural discourse with cultures involved ICC 1/2 – ICC 1/3 : Reconstruction of interculturality by comparing two different intercultural discourse

16 Conclusions Intercultural communication is not an automatism Distinguish between institutional and intercultural discourse Achieving intercultural purposes – (un)thematising ethnicity – Perspectivising culture – Interlingual understanding

17 References Bührig, K / Thije, J.D. ten (eds.) (2006). Beyond Misunderstanding. Linguistic analyses of intercultural communication. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Bührig, K. / Thije, J.D. ten (2005) Diskurspragmatische Beschreibung (HSK123) In: Ammon, U., Dittmar, N. / Mattheier, K. (eds.). Sociolinguistics - Soziolinguistik. An international Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. (2. bearbeitete Auflage, Teil 2) Berlin: Mouton, Beerkens, R., Griesshaber, W. Missine, Thije, J.D. ten (to appear) Receptive Multilingualism in the Dutch-German border area. A comparison between intercultural discourse in civil society organisations and governmental organizations. In: J. D. ten Thije, J. Rehbein, A.Verschik (eds.) Receptive Multilingualism. Special issue of International Journal for Bilingualism. Clyne, M. (2003) Towards inter-cultural communication in Europe without linguistic homogenization. In: De Cillia, R. (et al) (eds.) Die Kos­ten der Mehrsprachigkeit. Globalisierung und sprachliche Vielfalt; The Cost of Multilingualism. Globalisation and Linguistic Diversity. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Koole, T. / Thije, J. D. ten (1994). The Construction of Intercultural Discourse. Team Discussion of Educational Advisers. Amsterdam / Atlanta: RODOPI. Porila, A. / Thije, J. D. ten (2008) Gesprächsfibel für interkulturelle Kommunikation in Behörden. München: Meidenbauer Ribbert, A. / Thije, J.D. ten (2006) Rezeptive Mehrsprachigkeit und interkulturelle Kommunikation am Arbeitsplatz. In: Meyer, B. & Kameyama, S. (eds.). Mehrsprachigkeit am Arbeitsplatz. Frankfurt: Lang, Sarangi, S. (1995) Culture. In: Verschueren, J. / Östman, J.-O. / Blommaert, J. (Eds.) (1995). Handbook of Pragmatics Manual. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

18 References Thije, J.D. ten (2002). Stufen des Verstehens bei der Interpretation von interkulturellen Diskursen. In: Kotthoff, H. (Ed.). Kultur(en) im Gespräch. Gunter Narr Verlag. Tübingen, Thije, J.D. ten (2003a) The Transition from Misunderstanding to Understanding in Intercultural Communication. In L.I. Komlosi, P. Houtlosser / M. Leezenberg (Eds.), Communication and Culture. Argumentative, Cognitive and Linguistic Perspectives. Amsterdam: Sic Sac, Thije, J.D. ten (2003b). Eine Pragmatik der Mehrsprachigkeit. Zur Analyse diskursiver Interkulturen. In: De Cillia, R., Krumm, J. / Wodak, R. (Eds)‚ Die Kosten der Mehrsprachigkeit/ Globalisierung und sprachliche Vielfalt / The Cost of Multilingualism. Globalisation and Linguistic Diversity. Wien, Thije, J. D. ten (2006) The notion of 'perspective' and 'perspectivising' in intercultural communication research. In: K. Bührig / J.D. ten Thije (Eds.) Beyond Misunderstanding. The linguistic analysis of intercultural communication. Amsterdam: Benjamins, Thije, J.D. ten (2009) The self-retreat of the interpreter: An analysis of teasing and toasting in intercultural discourse. In K. Bührig, J. House and JD ten Thije (eds), Translatory action and intercultural communication. Manchester: St. Jerome, Thije, J.D. ten / Zeevaert, L. (eds.) (2007) Receptive Multilingualism and intercultural communication (Hamburg Studies in Multilingualism). Amsterdam: Benjamins. Thije, J. D. ten / J. Rehbein, A. Verschik (eds.) (to appear) Receptive Multilingualism. Special issue of International Journal for Bilingualism

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20 Beyond misunderstanding (4) (ten Thije 2009) Non professional interpretation The retreat of the interpreter - Toasting and teasing in intercultural discourse Changing the participant format in order to guarantee intercultural understanding Functional equivalence and Dilated speech situation


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