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Presentation on theme: "SESSION: INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION"— Presentation transcript:


2  Intro: Intercultural competence  Definitions: communication, culture, intercultural communication  What causes communication problems in an intercultural setting  Verbal communication  Non-verbal communication  Richard Lewis’ model of intercultural communication  Introduction to assignment Contents

3 Intro: Intercultural competence “The 21st century is upon us. As inhabitants of this post-millennium world, you no longer have a choice about whether to live and communicate among many cultures. Your only choice is whether you will learn to do it well...” Lustig, Koester & Taylor

4 Intro: Intercultural competence  The imperative for intercultural competence  Demographic imperative  Technological imperative  Economic imperative  Peace imperative  Interpersonal imperative

5 What is communication?  Verbal and non-verbal (90%) Culture PersonAPersonA Person BPerson B Send/Receive Messages through Various Channels Encode/ Decode Noise

6 What is culture? The collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another. A learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, norms and social practices which affect the behaviours of a relatively large group of people

7 Layers of Culture  National  Regional  Educational  Professional  Gender  Class  Religious  Generational  Ethnic  Corporate  Personal country family sports club company

8 Culture, an iceberg … Symbols Rituals Heroes Social practices Values Norms Beliefs

9 Values …

10 Symbols…

11 Heroes…

12 Rituals …

13 What is intercultural communication? Intercultural communication is a symbolic, interpretive, transactional & contextual process in which people from different cultures create shared meanings. It occurs when large and important cultural differences create dissimilar interpretations and expectations about how to communicate competently  Sender & receiver have different cultural backgrounds


15 Cultural differences in communication SENDER RECEIVER MESSAGE MASSAGE

16  Non-native speakers (often at least one of them)  One-on-one translations  Translation of jokes, sayings, a pun … often not possible  Time relativity in a global perspective  Use of other measures  gallon, mile, ounce, … What can go wrong – verbal (1)

17  WASHINGTON (AP) — “Failure to convert English measures to metric values caused the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter, a spacecraft that smashed into the planet instead of reaching a safe orbit, a NASA investigation concluded Wednesday. […] An investigation board concluded that NASA engineers failed to convert English measures of rocket thrusts to Newton, a metric system measuring rocket force. One English pound of force equals 4.45 Newton. A small difference between the two values caused the spacecraft to approach Mars at too low an altitude and the craft is thought to have smashed into the planet’s atmosphere and was destroyed.” What can go wrong – verbal (2)

18  Pronunciation of words  “Sh” cannot be pronounced in Finnish  The English “th”  Different vocabulary  Snow (Inuit)  Green (Zulu) What can go wrong – verbal (3)

19 Verbal communication HindiEnglish Baap (pitagi), maaFather, mother Baba (dada), amma (dadi) Father’s father, father’s mother Nana, naniMother’s father, mother’s mother Taaya, taayiFather’s/wife of father’s elder brother Chacha, chachiFather’s/wife of father’s younger brother Mama, mamiMother’s/wife of mother’s brother Booa, fooaFather’s sister, husband of father’s sister Mausi, mausaMother’s/ husband of mother’s sister BahaiBrother BhabhiBrother’s wife Bhatija, bhatijiBrother’s son/daughter BahinSister ….

20  Politeness  Vous / tu – u / jij - you  First names  Japan: “I” is different in different contexts  Grammar  Existence of present tense  Past tenses (was/has been) My grandfather never went abroad ≠ has never gone abroad  Le subjonctif n’existe pas en néerlandais What can go wrong – verbal (4)

21  Irish Mist What can go wrong - examples

22 What can go wrong – examples  GM Chevy NOVA

23 What can go wrong – examples  Mazda Laputa

24  Slogans  Parker Pen "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you" translated into "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant” in Spanish  Pepsi "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese What can go wrong – examples

25  Body-language  Nodding = YES or NO ???  Laughing = happiness or insecurity ???  Avoiding eye contact = respect or shame ???  Physical distance - touching each other - kissing What can go wrong – non-verbal (1)


27  Colours  Red = political colour of … EU: left-sided political parties US: Republicans  White = colour of … EU: marriage Catholics: joy China, Muslim: death What can go wrong – non-verbal (2)

28  Symbols  Different meanings  Not understandable outside the group What can go wrong – non-verbal (3) Thumbs up = OK, … but offensive in Greece

29  Values: nudity What can go wrong – non-verbal (4)

30  Values: diseases What can go wrong – non-verbal (5)

31 What can go wrong - non-verbal (6)  Values: religion

32  Direction in which we read  Left to right, top to bottom, … … problems if the message is read from right to left What can go wrong – (non)verbal (7)  Our usual perspective tml


34 Richard Lewis’ model of Cultural Categories


36 National Communication Patterns – Italy –

37 National Communication Patterns – Finland –

38 National Communication Patterns – Germany –

39 National Communication Patterns – UK –

40 Listening Habits – Belgium –

41 ‘Tolerance, intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where people are becoming more and more closely interconnected.’ Kofi Annan Conclusion


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