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Appropriateness in Intercultural Communication and Its Implication for EFL Teaching . Zhao Wenxue , Gu Fei College of Foreign Languages, Jilin University. I . Appropriateness and Intercultural Communication: Basic Notions. 1.1 Definition of appropriateness

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appropriateness in intercultural communication and its implication for efl teaching

Appropriateness in Intercultural Communication and Its Implication for EFL Teaching

Zhao Wenxue , Gu Fei

College of Foreign Languages, Jilin University

i appropriateness and intercultural communication basic notions
I. Appropriateness and Intercultural Communication: Basic Notions
  • 1.1 Definition of appropriateness
  • the use of language in ways that are not only correct linguistically, but also proper and acceptable sociocultually.
1 2 appropriateness and correctness
1.2 Appropriateness and correctness
  • Two different concepts with two different standards of effectiveness in communication.
  • The former usually stresses functional aspect and being suitable for a particular occasion or purpose while the latter emphasizes being free from any structural mistakes.
what is said may be linguistically correct, but socioculturally inappropriate.
1 3 norms of appropriateness
1.3 Norms of appropriateness
  • Com. takes place in context. So, the norms of approp. are multidimensional & closely related to different elements making up context.
  • Time, space & membership of a particular nation form three major, determining factors at macro-level for the judgment of approp. in a communicative event.
  • It is also judged by the elements of context at micro-level including the specific occasion, purpose and other sociocultural factors .
1 4 appropriateness and intercultural communication
1.4 Appropriateness and intercultural communication
  • Gudykunst (1992): intercultural com. is “a transactional, symbolic process involving the attribution of meaning between people from different cultures.”
  • Samovar and Porter (1998) :“com. between people whose cultural perceptions and symbol systems are distant enough to alter the com. event.”
In the process of verbal transaction, people of different cultures often follow different rules. It is these rules of interaction that determine what is proper and what is not in their daily encounters.
  • Differences in such rules are manifestations of and deeply rooted in the uniqueness of cult.s to which people belong. Consequently, what is appropriate for people in one cul. may not necessarily be appropriate for people in another since their cultural perceptions and symbol systems may be distant enough to alter the com. event.
ii an analysis of appropriateness in intercultural communication
II. An Analysis of Appropriateness in Intercultural Communication
  • 2.1 Appropriateness and timing
  • When to talk and when to remain silent, who speaks first and who introduces the topic often vary from cul. to cul. and are issues for attention in intercultural com. Obviously, people from different cul.s adhere to different rules of speaking.
On such occasion, it is of paramount importance to every interlocutor to say the right thing at the right time, and to know that silence may convey quite different meanings to different people. Therefore, find a good timing of speaking is a significant step toward effective intercultural com..
2 2 appropriateness and topic choice
2.2 Appropriateness and topic choice
  • Choosing the right topic is also an important step to achieve approp. in intercultural com.. Due to cultural differences, some topics that are appropriate in one cul. may be rather inappropriate or taboos in another.
2 3 appropriateness and manner
2.3 Appropriateness and manner
  • Manner of speaking, i.e., the lan. style, is closely related to approp.. Different situations require different styles of com.. Formal, important situations call for formal words and means of transmission. Style is not just peripheral ornament added to a speech already thought through; style and content are organically related.
In order to express a certain meaning, we have a list of choices of linguistic forms that have similar linguistic functions. However, in actual com., only one or two of them is appropriate for the specific communicative purpose. So choosing an appropriate manner to express meaning is also significant for successful communication.
iii factors affecting approp in intercultural com
III. Factors Affecting Approp. in Intercultural Com.
  • 3.1 Cultural differences
  • In most cases, at least two cultures are usually involved in an intercultural com. event where differences between such cultures interact and often clash. So, owing to these differences, what is appropriate in one cul. is not necessarily appropriate in another.
Belief, values ,norms and many other aspects of culture affect the approp. in intercultural com.. What are regarded as appropriate, acceptable or inappropriate, unacceptable in such interaction are simply manifestations of different belief, values, and norms.
3 2 difference in communicative ability
3.2 Difference in communicative ability
  • Communicative ability comprises several aspects :1) linguistic competence;2) ability to distinguish between linguistic forms he has mastered and their communicative functions;3) command of skills and strategies needed to use language to communicate meanings as effectively as possible in any specific situations.
to use feedback to judge his success in exchange, and remedy failure, if it occurs, by using appropriate language.
  • Due to various factors, communicators may differ a great deal in communicative ability.
iv strategies for the achievement of approp in inter com
IV.Strategies for the achievement of approp. in inter. com.
  • 4.1 Enhancing the awareness of culture differences
  • Robert G. Hanvey (1979) : four levels of intercultural awareness:
  • Level 1. a person may know some superficial or very visible cultural traits, stereotypes.
  • Level 2. a person knows, through either direct or second-hand experiences, of significant and subtle cultural traits that contrast markedly with his own practices.
Level 3. a person accepts the cultural traits intellectually.
  • Level 4. a person has the awareness of how another culture feels from the standpoint of the insider. This is denoted as empathy. ‘Empathy is the capacity to see oneself in the other fellow’s situation. This is an indispensable skill for people moving out of traditional settings’
4 2 developing communicative competence
4.2 Developing communicative competence
  • For foreign language learners, the first basic step is to possess the ability to speak, listen, write and read in the target language. In other words, the communicators must attain as high a degree as possible of linguistic competence of the target language. When a communicator has acquired all those skills, he is supposed to be linguistically qualified for effective communication with native speakers.
Good knowledge of the linguistic system is a necessary condition for effective com., but not sufficient. Communicators must develop abilities for using appropriate language to communicate meanings as effectively as possible in concrete situations.
  • Approp. is a rather complicated concept and achieving it in intercultural com. is by no means an easy task. The interlocutors have to take many factors into consideration and need to work hard on it. Being able to use appropriate lan. to achieve effective and successful com. in different situations is of great importance not only to EFL teaching and learning, but also to any one who wishes to avoid failure in intercultural interaction.