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Intercultural Communication

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  1. Intercultural Communication Lecture 2

  2. Review • Discourse Systems • Based on • Ideology (beliefs, values) • Relationships • Communication patterns • Socialization (learning) • Can be big or small

  3. Multiple Overlapping Discourse Systems Female Youth Chinese City U Student Christian Hong Konger

  4. Examples of discourse systems • ? • ? • ? • ? • ? • ?

  5. Two types of discourse system • Voluntary • Goal oriented • Involuntary • Based on characteristics that are not chosen

  6. IMPORTANT POINT • Since everyone is simultaneously a member of many discourse systems • Interdiscourse communication is NOT ONLY • Me-----You • BUT ALSO • Me----Me----Me

  7. My new experience Yoga Combat!

  8. Task • Watch the video • How does this situation constitute interdiscourse communication?

  9. The Ambiguity of Language • People don’t mean what they say • People don’t say what they mean • We must draw inferences about meaning • Our inferences tend to be fixed, not tentative • Our inferences are drawn very quickly

  10. The Grammar of Context • Two main ways we deal with ambiguity • We make inferences based on the words people say and the way that they say them • TEXT • We make inferences based on the situation • CONTEXT

  11. What is ‘Grammar’ • Grammar is a system of shared expectations about how language should be used in a certain community • Grammars which are written down in books are descriptions of how the people who have power use language • Different dialects or varieties may have different grammars

  12. Where are these people from? • My brother really hungry la. Let’s go for makan. • I cannae mind the place where those bairns are from. • Yo mama so bowlegged, she looks like the bite out of a doughnut.

  13. Grammar is a System • BAE • She very nice • He a teacher • I run when I bees on my way to school • LV to be omitted • be signals repeated action • SAE • She’s very nice • He’s a teacher • I always run when I’m on my way to school • LV can’t be omitted • always signals repeated action

  14. What’s correct? • Speech is correct as long as it follows the system • Most people never study the grammar of their own language (learned informally) • Nobody follows the system exactly • Variation in usage is not ‘wrong’. Usually it has a purpose

  15. Markedness • Unmarked=the usual way, conforming to the system. • Marked=unusual, not conforming to the system. • Whether something is unmarked or marked depend on the context. • ‘What is it?’ • ‘What it be?’

  16. The Grammar of Context • Just as language has systems, discourse (language in context) also has systems. • language grammars tell you how to arrange words, word endings, etc. • context grammars tell you what to say to whom, when and how. • GOC is ‘learned’ in the same way language grammar is

  17. Shared Expectations • People from the same discourse community have shared expectations about how speech situations, events and acts should be arranged. • People don’t always follow the system exactly. Like language grammar, we use it as a guide-line to assist us in communication.

  18. Grammar of Context • Seven Components • Scene • Key • Participants • Message form • Sequence • Co-occurrence Patterns • Manifestation

  19. Scene • Setting • Time • Place • location • use of space • purpose • topic • genre • Genre • A ‘type’ of communication • lecture • business letter • informal conversation • novel • song • TV news report

  20. Lecture: Fixed • Setting • Time: Thursday, 9:30-12:30 • Place: B5311 • Use of Space: L standing in front, S’s sitting in chairs • Purpose: to learn • Topic: Intercultural Communication • Genres: lecture, small group activities

  21. Date: Not as Fixed • Time: usually evening • Place: cinema, restaurant, park, karaoke • Use of space: depends on other components of GOC • Purpose: To establish or maintain relationship • Topic: Depends on participants • Genre: dinner, karaoke, picture-taking

  22. Date: Marked Occurrences • Time: Thursday, 1:30-4:30 • Place: B5311 • Use of space: Boy standing in front, girl sitting in chair • Purpose: to learn • Topic: Intercultural Communication • Genre: lecture

  23. Time and space • Edward T. Hall • Famous American Anthropologist • Hall, E.T. (1959). The silent language. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday. • Hall, E.T. (1977). Beyond culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday. • Hall, E.T. (1983). The dance of life. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday.

  24. Punctuality in Brazil • As a visiting professor in Brazil, Levine (1988) discovered that college students there had a very different conception of class time compared to American students. When the time came to meet his first class, Levine arrived twenty minutes late to an empty classroom (Levine & Wolff, 1985). But, unlike in the U.S.A., that did not mean that the class had already been there and left. Rather, it meant that none of the class had even arrived! Then, when class was over, only a few students left. The rest hung around for an additional half hour.

  25. Punctuality and Values • Levine asked US and Brazilian college students about what makes a successful person • US students rated people who were never late for appointments as more successful • Brazilians rated people who were always late for appointments as more successful • Why?

  26. Time • Different discourse systems have different concepts of time • For some: abstract, measurable, independent of circumstances, synthetic • For others: measured in natural cycles (eg. Crops) • Chronos (‘clock time’) • Kairos (‘appropriate time’)

  27. Metaphors for Time • Time is money • Spend time • Waste time • Run out of time • Save time • Lose time

  28. Urgency • Type ‘A’ personality • ‘hurry sickness’ • Rural—city • Genders • Generations • Professions • Contexts • Effect of technology

  29. Monochronic Linear, tangible, divisible Single focus: Events scheduled one item at a time Schedule takes precedence over relationships Emphasis on punctuality Adherence to plan Polychronic Circular, holistic. Flexible Multiple focus: Simultaneous attention to different things Greater involvement with people Change plans easily Easily distracted Monochronic vs. Polychronic Orientation towards time

  30. ageric vs. non-ageric • How does one define being ‘busy’ • Thinking vs. Doing • Especially important in corporate discourse systems • ‘Looking busy’

  31. Variety • Related to sense of time passing • Boredom • Cultural differences • Urban-rural • Generational • Effects of technology

  32. Attitudes towards the past and the future • ‘Golden Age’ view • Utopian view • Traditional Chinese/Confucian view • Maoist view • Contemporary Chinese view • Contemporary American view • Your view? • Your grandparents’ view?

  33. Different dimensions of time • WHICH ARE YOU? • Urgency vs, non-urgency • Monochronism vs. polychronism • Ageric vs. non-ageric • Variety vs. regularity • Golden age vs. utopian

  34. Use of space

  35. Proxemics • The Hidden Dimension (1966) • human perceptions of space are molded and patterned by culture • differing cultural frameworks for defining and organizing space can lead to serious failures of communication and understanding in cross-cultural settings • personal spaces that people form around their bodies • cultural expectations about how streets, neighborhoods and cities should be properly organized.

  36. Use of Space: Business • North Americans • big boss has the corner office on the top floor, deep carpets, an expensive desk, and handsome accessories. The most successful companies are located in the most prestigious buildings. • France • the highest-ranking executives sit in the middle of an open area, surrounded by lower-level employees. • Middle East • fine possessions are reserved for the home, and business is conducted in cramped and modest quarters.

  37. Personal Space • Intimate space • the closest "bubble" of space surrounding a person. Entry into this space is acceptable only for the closest friends and intimates. • Social and consultative spaces • the spaces in which people feel comfortable conducting routine social interactions with acquaintances as well as strangers. • Public space • the area of space beyond which people will perceive interactions as impersonal and relatively anonymous.

  38. Personal Space • According to Hall… • In the United States people engaged in conversation will assume a social distance of roughly 4-7’ • in many parts of Europe the expected social distance is roughly half that • Americans traveling overseas often experience the urgent need to back away from a conversation partner who seems to be getting too close..

  39. Personal Space • The distance one keeps with the other person may influence the response one will get • If you are too close to a person who is used to keeping a certain physical distance in conversation, this person may feel threatened. • If you keep the same distance with a person who is used to physically closer interaction, physical distance may be interpreted as psychological distance.

  40. Elevator Rules • What are the rules are for standing in the elevator? Which way should you face? • Where do people stand when there are only two or three people? • What happens when a fourth person enters the elevator. • How would you feel if there were two people on the elevator and a third person entered and stood right next to you? • What do people look at in a crowded elevator? • When is it permissible to talk to the other people?

  41. Participants • Number • Who they are • What roles they take • Different roles in different situations • Performatives: Speech acts which can only be performed by certain people in certain places • ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife’

  42. Participants • Different discourse systems have different ideas about participant roles • Japanese vs. American decision making • American vs. Chinese classrooms • Chinese: Teacher always introduces topics • American: Students often introduce topics

  43. Key • From music: minor key/major key • Mood • Key of a Wedding: Happy • Key of a Funeral: Sad • Key of a Lecture: ? • Intercultural Differences • laughter = relaxed/ laughter = nervous • crying at weddings/dancing at funerals

  44. Message Form ‘The Medium is the Message’ The message form we choose changes the message • Speaking • Writing • Silence • Other media • Video • Overhead projection, slides • Amplification • Recording

  45. Breaking up • What’s the best way and the worst way to break up and why • face to face conversation • telephone • Letter • Email • Facebook (relationship status) • Weibo or Twitter • text message (SMS) • instant messaging (MSN) • Silence • a combination of the above

  46. Sequence • Set Agenda • Open Agenda • Conventional Ordering • Proposing Marriage • Preparation: ‘I have something to talk to you about...’ • Reasons: ‘We’ve been going out for a long time...’ • Main Point: So, would you like to get married?

  47. Sequence • Associated with ‘scripts’ • McDonald’s script • Yum Cha script • Western Restaurant script

  48. ‘Hey man, don’t eat my shit’

  49. Co-occurrence Patterns • Things that usually go together • joke--humorous key • apology--serious key • lecture--lecture theater • meeting--set agenda • conversation on date--open agenda

  50. Manifestation • Explicit (rules stated in a very clear way) (often the case in ceremonies) • E.g. ‘Please rise’ • ‘You may now kiss the bride’ • Tacit (rule not stated but understood) • Manifestation of GOC is usually tacit • So people from different DS’s have problems