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Unit 1 Communication Across Cultures

Reading I

Intercultural Communication:An Introduction

Comprehension questions

1. Is it still often the case that “everyone?s quick to blame the alien” in the contemporary world?

This is still powerful in today?s social and political rhetoric. For instance, it is not uncommon in today?s society to hear people say that most, if not all, of the social and economic problems are caused by minorities and immigrants.

2. What?s the difference between today?s intercultural contact and that of any time in the past?

Today?s intercultural encounters are far more numerous and of greater importance than in any time in history.

3. What have made intercultural contact a very common phenomenon in our life today?

New technology, in the form of transportation and communication systems, has accelerated intercultural contact; innovative communication systems have encouraged and facilitated cultural interaction; globalization of the economy has brought people together; changes in immigration patterns have also contributed to intercultural encounter.

4. How do you understand the sentence “culture is everything and everywhere”?

Culture supplies us with the answers to questions about what the world looks like and how we live and communicate within that world. Culture teaches us how to behave in our life from the instant of birth. It is omnipresent.

5. What are the major elements that directly influence our perception and communication?

The three major socio-cultural elements that directly influence perception and communication are cultural values, worldview (religion), and social organizations (family and state).

6. What does one?s family teach him or her while he or she grows up in it?

The family teaches the child what the world looks like and his or her place in that world.

7. Why is it impossible to separate our use of language from our culture?

Because language is not only a form of preserving culture but also a means of sharing culture. Language is an organized, generally agreed-upon, learned symbol system that is used to represent the experiences within a cultural community.

8. What are the nonverbal behaviors that people can attach meaning to?

People can attach meaning to nonverbal behaviors such as gestures, postures, facial expressions, eye contact and gaze, touch, etc.

9. How can a free, culturally diverse society exist?

A free, culturally diverse society can exist only if diversity is permitted to flourish without


prejudice and discrimination, both of which harm all members of the society.

Reading II

The Challenge of Globalization

Comprehension questions

1. Why does the author say that our understanding of the world has changed?

Many things, such as political changes and technological advances, have changed the world very rapidly. In the past most human beings were born, lived, and died within a limited geographical area, never encountering people of other cultural backgrounds. Such an existence, however, no longer prevails in the world. Thus, all people are faced with the challenge of understanding this changed and still fast changing world in which we live.

2. What a “global village” is like?

As our world shrinks and its inhabitants become interdependent, people from remote cultures increasingly come into contact on a daily basis. In a ―global village‖, members of once isolated groups of people have to communicate with members of other cultural groups. Those people may live thousands of miles away or right next door to each other.

3. What is considered as the major driving force of the post-1945 globalization?

Technology, particularly telecommunications and computers are considered to be the major driving force.

4. What does the author mean by saying that “the ?global? may be more local than the ?local?”?

The increasing global mobility of people and the impact of new electronic media on human communications make the world seem smaller. We may communicate more with people of other countries than with our neighbors, and we may be more informed of the international events than of the local events. In this sense, ―the ?global? may be more local than the ?local?‖.

5. Why is it important for businesspeople to know diverse cultures in the world?

Effective communication may be the most important competitive advantage that firms have to meet diverse customer needs on a global basis. Succeeding in the global market today requires the ability to communicate sensitively with people from other cultures, a sensitivity that is based on an understanding of cross-cultural differences. 6. What are the serious problems that countries throughout the world are confronted with?

Countries throughout the world are confronted with serious problems such as volatile

international economy, shrinking resources, mounting environmental contamination, and epidemics that

know no boundaries.

7. What implications can we draw from the case of Michael Fay?

This case shows that in a world of international interdependence, the ability to understand and communicate effectively with people from other cultures takes on extreme urgency. If we are unaware of the significant role culture plays in communication, we may place the blame for communication failure on people of other cultures.

8. What attitudes are favored by the author towards globalization?

Globalization, for better or for worse, has changed the world greatly. Whether we like it or not, 2

globalization is all but unstoppable. It is already here to stay. It is both a fact and an opportunity. The challenges are not insurmountable. Solutions exist, and are waiting to be identified and implemented. From a globalistic point of view, there is hope and faith in humanity.


纵观历史,我们可以清楚地看到,人们由于彼此所处地域、意识形态、容貌服饰和行为 举止上存在的差异,而长久无法互相理解、无法和睦相处。在这种情况下,跨文化交际作为 一个特定的研究领域得以形成和发展。值得注意的是,人类文明在发展过程中所遭受的许多 挫折,既是个人的,又是全球性的;人类历史进程总是充满了个人间的直接冲突和民族间的 误解——从骂骂咧咧到孤立主义直至到武装冲突,大大小小争端不绝。

很显然,文化间以及亚文化间的交往比以前多了,这迫切要求我们共同努力,去理解有 着不同信仰和文化背景的人们,并与之和睦相处。通过加深认识和理解,我们能够与生活方 式、价值观念不同的人们和平共处;这不但有益于我们周遭环境的安定,也是维护世界和平 的决定性因素。

Unit 2 Culture and Communication

Reading I

What Is Culture

Comprehension questions

1. Which of the definitions given above do you prefer? Why?

Some may prefer a short definition, such as the one given by E. Sapir or R. Benedict, for it is highly generalized and easy to remember. Some may prefer a longer one, such as Edward T. Hall?s definition of culture, because it provides us with a more comprehensive understanding of culture and points out the all-pervasive impact of culture on human life in different dimensions.

2.What have you learned from those definitions about culture?

Many things can be learned from those definitions, for each definition, though not without its limitations, tells us something very important about culture or certain aspect(s) of culture.

3. Do you agree that our lower needs always have to be satisfied before we can try to satisfy the higher needs?

Even though this is generally the case, there will still be some exceptions. Sometimes people might prefer to satisfy higher needs, for instance, esteem needs, before their lower needs, such as certain physiological needs or safety needs, are satisfied.

4. What examples can you give about how people of different cultures achieve the same ends by taking different roads?

For example, everyone has to eat in order to live and this is universally true. However, to satisfy this basic need, people of various cultures may do it in very different ways: what to eat and how to eat it vary from culture to culture.

5. What behaviors of ours are born with and what are learned in the cultural environment?

Instinctive behaviors are behaviors that we are born with and ways of doing things in daily life, 3

such as ways of eating, drinking, dressing, finding shelter, making friends, marrying, and dealing with death are learned in the cultural environment.

6. What other cultural differences do you know in the way people do things in their everyday life?

We can also find cultural differences in ways of bringing up children, treating the elderly, greeting each other, saving and spending money, and many other things people do in everyday life.

7. In what ways are the Chinese eating habits different from those of the English-speaking countries?

We Chinese may enjoy something that is not usually considered as edible by the English-speaking people. Generally we prefer to have things hot and lay much emphasis on tastes. We tend to share things with each other when we are eating with others.

Fill-in Task

Fill in the following blanks with at least five things in our life that you think are above and five that are below the “water”, the level of our consciousness.

Those that are above the ―water‖ are _what to eat and how to eat it _how to keep healthy_ _how to raise children ; ; ; _how to participate in ceremonies ; _how to introduce and greet people. Those that are below the ―water‖ are _what is good or bad _what is right or wrong _what is beautiful or ugly _what is clean or dirty

; _; ; ; _how is an individual related to others.

Then compare your fill-in items with those of your classmate, and try to decide which of the things are more likely to cause problems in intercultural communication.

Generally speaking, differences in those things that are usually outside of our conscious awareness, i.e. the so-called ―deep culture‖, are more likely to cause problems in intercultural communication. The reason is that this part of culture is internalized in people?s mind and thus is hard to be perceived. For example, in intercultural communication, it is easy to find out what and how people from another culture eat. Just have a look at their dining table, and we will know it. However, it is much more

difficult to find out or understand the values that underlie the phenomena.

To enhance the possibility of success in intercultural communication, it is crucial for us to know not only the hows but also the whys. The Muslims do not eat pork because they worship pigs; the Hindus do not pass dishes with left hand because they think it is impolite since the left hand is used to touch dirty things; the Masai people from Kenya like drinking fresh blood of cattle because they believe that cattle is the cleanest creature in the world. Unaware of the whys, we may regard other people?s eating habits as strange or unreasonable or even ridiculous, which may prevent us from truly understanding people of other cultures.


Sharing Knowledge: More about Culture


Try to find more examples in our life to show the characteristics of culture and what culture does. Culture is what we share with some but not with all other people; it is common to people belonging to a certain group or category, but different from people belonging to other groups or categories. In our life, culture is everywhere and determines how we usually behave. It includes the language in which we express ourselves, the way we raise our children, the deference we show to our elders, the physical distance from other people we maintain in order to feel comfortable, and the way we perceive general human activities such as eating, making love, having a conversation, forming a friendship with someone, etc. and the ceremonials surrounding them.

Reading II

Elements of Communication

Comprehension questions

1. What are the aspects of context mentioned above?

One aspect of context is the physical setting, including location, time, light, temperature, distance between communicators, and any seating arrangements. A second aspect of context is historical. A third aspect of context is psychological. A fourth aspect of context is culture.

2. In what ways would your posture, manner of speaking or attire change if you move from one physical setting to another, for example, from your home to a park, to a classroom, to a restaurant, to a funeral house, etc? One?s posture, manner of speaking or attire change from being casual to formal gradually from home to a park, to a classroom, to a restaurant, to a funeral house, etc, according to different formalness and seriousness of these situations.

3. How do people acquire communication norms in their life?

People acquire communication norms from their experiences in life.

4. What examples can you give to describe some Chinese norms in our everyday communication?

For example, it seems to be a norm in China to address one?s boss by his or her title and never to

express one?s disapproval directly to him or her.


5. How can we play both the roles of sender and receiver in communication?

As senders, we form messages and attempt to communicate them to others through verbal and nonverbal symbols. As receivers, we process the messages sent to us and react to them both verbally and nonverbally.

6. Does the sender plays a more important role than the receiver in communication?

No, they are equally important for both of them are essential in the process of communication. 7. In what ways do the differences between participants make communication more or less difficult? 5

Three especially important variables affecting participants which are relationship, gender, and culture make communication more or less difficult. 8. What is a symbol and what is a meaning?

The pure ideas and feelings that exist in a person?s mind represent meanings. The words, sounds, and actions that communicate meaning are known as symbols because they stand for the meanings intended by the person using them.

9. How can meanings be transferred from one person to another? What problems may arise in this process?

A message from one person is encoded into symbols and then decoded into ideas and feelings to another person. In this process of transforming include nonverbal cues, which significantly affect the meaning created between the participants in a communication transaction.

10. When are unintended or conflicted meanings likely to be created?

Unintended meanings are created when the decoding person receives a meaning unrelated to what the encoder thought he or she was communicating. Conflicting meanings are created when the verbal symbols are contradicted by the nonverbal cues.

11. Which channels do you usually prefer in communication? Why?

Of the five channels, some may prefer sight. As the old saying goes, ―words are but wind, but seeing is believing.‖

12. What examples can you find to show that one channel is more effective than others for transmitting certain messages?

For example, when asking a lady for a date, a young man may wear an immaculate suit and spray some perfume to show that he highly values this date with her. In this case, sight and smell are definitely more effective than words for conveying that particular message. 13. What are the things that can create noises in the process of communication?

Sights, sounds, and other stimuli in the environment that draw people?s attention away from intended meaning are known as external noise. Thoughts and feelings that interfere with the communication process are known as internal noise. Unintended meanings aroused by certain verbal symbols can inhibit the accuracy of decoding. This is known as semantic noise.

14. What should we do to reduce the interference of noise in communication?

When communicating with others, we should pay undivided attention to communication itself,

avoiding being distracted by any external or internal noise. Besides, we should make sure that what we say is correctly understood by others and vice versa to prevent semantic noise from generating. 15. Why is feedback a very important element of communication?

Feedback is very important because it serves useful functions for both senders and receivers: it provides senders with the opportunity to measure how they are coming across, and it provides receivers with the opportunity to exert some influence over the communication process. 16. What will you usually do when you receive negative feedback in communication?



Matching Task

In communication, the sentence meaning and the speaker?s meaning may not be exactly the same. What is important to successful communication is not just knowing the sentence meaning but knowing what the speaker actually means by the sentence said.

In the following there should be ten short dialogues. Try to make a proper match between each of what the first speaker says on the left and what the second speaker says on the right to form a dialogue that will make sense, and then decide what is possibly meant by the second speaker in the dialogue.

1: Let?s go to the movies.

j: I?ll bring the Kleenex.

(I suppose the film is a tear-jerker)

2: Good morning. Do you have anything to treat complete loss of voice? f: Good morning sir. What can I do for you today?

(We don?t have anything to treat complete loss of voice) 3: I do think Mrs. Jenkins is an old windbag, don?t you? a: Huh, lovely weather for March, isn?t it? (I don?t want to talk about it) 4: What on earth has happened to my roast beef? g: The dog is looking happy.

(Perhaps the dog has eaten the roast beef) 5. Would you like a cocktail? It?s my invention. i: Well, mmm uh it?s not that we don?t not drink. (I?m a bit dubious about drinking that cocktail) 6. Are you going to Steve?s barbecue? h: It is an outdoor party. (I?m not going to it)

7: Did you buy her a rose? b: I bought her a flower.

(I didn?t buy her a rose)

8: We went to see ―The Omen‖ last night but it wasn?t very scary? c: It would keep me awake all night. (I think ―The Omen‖ is scary)

9: Would you like something to drink?

d: Well, I?ve been on whiskey all day.

(Whiskey, please / Something other than whiskey, please)


10: Is John a good cook e:

He?s English.

(No, he isn?t, for the English are generally not good cooks)

More examples:

1. A: Can you tell me the time? B: Well, the milkman has come.

(No, I don?t know the exact time, but I can tell you that the milkman has come so that you may

be able to tell what the approximate time it is now.) 2. A: Do you like your new dress?

B: It?s pink.

(No, I don?t like it, for it?s not my favorite color.) 3. A: Did finish your homework? B: I started it.

(No, I didn?t finish my homework.) 4. A: I really like the dinner.

B: I?m a vegetarian.

(I didn?t like the dinner because meat had been the main course.) 5. A: Has the machine been fixed?

B: Tom is away but he will be back soon. (No, but it will be fixed soon.)


文化有时候被称为我们的心智程序,我们“头脑的软件”。但是,我们可以进一步引申 这个用电脑所做的类比,把文化看作是支持运行的操作环境。文化就像电脑使用的 DOS 或者 Unix 或者 “视窗”(Windows)等操作系统一样,使我们能在各种各样的实际应用中处理信 息。 用“视窗”这个比喻来描述文化似乎也很有吸引力。文化就是我们心灵的视窗,透过它 我们审视生活的方方面面。一个社会中不同个体的视窗是不大一样的,但都有着一些重要的 共同特征。

文化就好像是鱼畅游于其中的水一般,人们想当然地把文化看成是客观存在的事实,因 而很少去研究它。文化存在于我们所呼吸的空气之中,文化对于我们了解我们自身之为何物 是必不可少的,就正如生命离不开空气一样。文化是特定群体的共有财产,而不单是个体的 特征。社会按照文化设定的程序运作,这种程序来自于相似的生活体验以及对这种生活体验 之 含义的相似阐释。

如果文化是一种心智程序,那么它也是现实的心灵地图。从我们很小的时候开始,文化 就告诉我们应该看重什么、偏好什么、规避什么和做些什么,文化还告诉我们事物应该是什 么样。文化为我们提供超越个体经验可能的理想典范,帮助我们决定应该优先考虑的人或事。 文化为我们建立起行为准则,并视遵守这些准则的行为为正当、合法。

Unit 3 Cultural Diversity Reading I

Different Lands, Different Friendships


Comprehension questions

1. Why is it comparatively easy to make friends in the United States?

Because few Americans stay put for a lifetime. With each move, forming new friendship becomes a necessity and part of their new life.

2. Do people from different countries usually have different expectations about what constitutes

friendship and how it comes into being?

Yes. The difficulty when strangers from two countries meet is their different expectations about what constitutes friendship and how it comes into being.

3. How is friendship in America different from friendship in West Europe?

In West Europe, friendship is quite sharply distinguished from other, more casual relationships, is usually more particularized and carries a heavier burden of commitment, while in America the word ―friend‖ can be applied to a wide range of relationship and a friendship may be superficial, casual, situational or deep and enduring.

4. In what country does friendship have much to do with one?s family? And in what country does it

not? In Germany, friendship has much to do with one?s family as friends are usually brought into the family, while in France it doesn?t as, for instance, two men may have been friends for a long time without knowing each other ?s personal life.

5. What is friendship like when it is compartmentalized?

For instance, a man may play chess with a friend for thirty years without knowing his political opinions, or he may talk politics with him for as long a time without knowing about his personal life. Different friends fill different niches in each person?s life.

6. What are friendships usually based on in England?

English friendships are based on shared activity. Activities at different stages of life may be of very different kinds. In the midst of the activity, whatever it may be, people fall into steps and find that they participate in the activity with the same easy anticipation of what each will do day by day or in some critical situation.

7. Do you think friendship shares some common elements in different cultures? If you do, what are


Yes. There is the recognition that friendship, in contrast with kinship, invokes freedom of

choice. A friend is someone who chooses and is chosen. Related to this is the sense each friend gives the other of being a special individual, on whatever grounds this recognition is based. And between friends there is inevitably a kind of equality of give-and-take.

8. What do you think is the typical Chinese concept of friendship? Is it similar to or different from any

of the Western friendships?

It seems that the typical Chinese concept of friendship lays great emphasis on personal loyalty and also has much to do with family. It may be similar to Germany friendship to some extent and quite different from other Western friendships.


Reading II

Comparing and Contrasting Cultures

Comprehension questions

1. How is the mainstream American culture different from the Japanese culture?

Americans believe that human nature is basically good and man is the master of nature. They are future-oriented and ―being‖-oriented. Their social orientation is toward the importance of the individual and the equality of all people. However, the Japanese believe that human nature is a

mixture of good and evil. Man is in harmony with nature. They are both past-oriented and future-oriented. And they are both ―growing-‖ and ―doing-‖oriented. They give emphasis to authorities and the group.

2. Can you find examples to support the author?s view of traditional cultures in different value


For example, the traditional Indian culture believes that man is subjugated by nature and it is being-oriented (which can be exemplified by its caste system). Also, traditional Chinese culture is past-oriented, for emphasis has long been given to learning from the old and past.

3. Why do Americans tend to equate “change” with “improvement” and regard rapid change as


Concerning orientation toward time, Americans are dominated by a belief in progress. They are future-oriented. They believe that ―time is money‖ and have an optimistic faith in the future and what the future will bring. So they tend to equate ―change‖ with ―improvement‖ and consider a rapid rate of change as normal.

4. What does “Electric Englishman” mean when it is used to describe the American?

As for activity, Americans are so action-oriented that they tend to be hyperactive. That?s why that they have been described as ―Electric Englishmen‖, who always keep themselves busy.

5. How would you explain the fact that contradictory values may exist in the same culture?

As time changes faster and faster and there is more contact between cultures, it is more likely to find contradictory values existing in the same culture. This is especially the case in a society that is being transformed from a traditional one into a modern one. For example, in the Japanese culture, some people may still be very past-oriented and some are rather future-oriented, and even the same people may be sometimes past-oriented in certain situations and sometime future-oriented in other


6. What can we get from models of this kind about cultural differences?

Models of this kind are quite useful in giving rough pictures of striking contrasts and differences of different cultures. However, such a model only compares cultures on some basic orientations. It does not tell us everything about every conceivable culture. We have to recognize that models of this kind are over-simplifications and can only give approximations of reality.

7. Do cultural values change as time changes?

Yes, the values may be in the process of marked change due to rapid modernization and globalization. However, they have a way of persisting in spite of change. The evolution of values is a


slow process, since they are rooted in survival needs and passed on from generation to generation.

8. How is communication influenced by differing cultural values?

Putting people from one culture into another culture with radically different value orientations could cause stress, disorientation, and breakdowns in communication.


虽然,我们每个人都有各自一套独特的价值观,但在每一文化里,总有弥漫于整个文化 之中的普遍的价值观。这些被称作文化价值观

文化价值观通常是规范性的,它使文化的成员知道什么是好的和坏的、什么是正确的和 错误的、什么是真的和假的、什么是积极的和消极的,等等。文化价值规定了什么是值得为 之献身的,什么是值得维护的,什么会危及人们及其社会制度,什么是学习的恰当内容,什 么是可讽刺嘲笑的,什么是形成群体团结的途径。文化价值观也指明了文化中的什么行为是 举足轻重的,哪些是应当尽力避免的。价值观是人们在做出抉择和解决争端时作为依据的一 种习得的规则体系。

跨文化交际的参与者所具有的价值观是十分重要的,因为价值观产生出决定何为正当或 不正当社会行为的标准。换言之,价值观有助于人们决定他们的行为方式,以符合他们的价 值系统所期望的行为准则。由于文化价值系统之间存在差异,我们可以预见,在相似的情境 中,跨文化交际的参与者会表现出并期待着不同的行为。

Unit 4 Language and Culture

Reading I

How Is Language Related to Culture

Comprehension questions

1. What can we do to avoid attributing a very different meaning to the phrase or interpret it much more literally?

We have to be aware of the cultural implications of the phrase. 2. What are the other functions of using question forms apart from asking for information?

It serves as a lubricant to move the conversation forward. A question that has this function can be called a ―social question‖.

3. Why are those Germans getting stiffer and more reserved all the time when visiting Ingrid Zerbe?

They are confused about how to address her, for she introduces herself by first and last name

rather than by last name and professional title.

4. How does the environment influence the use of language?

Language reflects the environment in which we live. We use language to label the things that are around us.

5. Does the author think there are exact equivalents in dictionaries that have the same meanings in different cultures?

No. According to the author, there are no such equivalents between languages; therefore, to communicate concepts effectively, cultural knowledge is as important as linguistic knowledge.


6. How does the language change over time?

Words and phrases that are used commonly at one time may be discontinued or their meaning may change over time.

7. Does the author think it is possible for countries such as France and Iceland to keep their language pure by implementing language policy to ensure the use of standardized language?

The author does not think so, because, for instance, the Academie Francaise may insist on certain rules, but other French-speaking groups may make their own rules and consider their French just as correct.

8. What are the possible language barriers in classroom teaching?

In some cases the professors actually may have a poor command of the language; however, in most cases the problem is not the language but different intonation patterns and different cultural signals. .

Fill-in Task

Try to use the appropriate color term given below to fill in each of the blanks in the following sentences. Many of these terms may be used more than once.

1) He?s just a green recruit fresh from college. 2) I tried to call her many times but she was in a brown study and didn?t hear me. 3) One day, out of the blue, a girl rang up and said she was my sister. 4) The new office block has unfortunately become an expensive white elephant. 5) Mary was always regarded as the black sheep of the family. 6) You?d better do something to prove you?re not yellow. 7) Can you see the green in her eyes? 8) The mere thought of her husband with the secretary made her see red. 9) I got some black looks from the shopkeeper when I cancelled my order. 10) When I?m feeling blue, all I have to do is take a look at you, and then I?m not so blue . 11) Don?t tell me any white lie to make me feel good.

12) It may cost over a week to go through all the red tape to get the permission. 13) His type of humor is a bit too blue for my tastes. 14) Are you all right? --- You look absolutely green. 15) He based his judgment on headlines and yellow journalism. Reading II

Language-and-Culture, Two Sides of the Same Coin

Comprehension questions

1. What is the author?s view of the relationship between language and culture?

Language and culture are clearly fused; one reflects the other.

2. In which ways does language reflect the culture?

Language embodies the products, perspectives, communities, and persons of a culture. Members of the culture have created the language to carry out all their cultural practices, to

12 identify and organize all their cultural products, and to name the underlying cultural perspectives i n

all the various communities that comprise their culture.

3. How can we use the right language in the right way according to the author?

It is based on direct experience in the culture and interactions with members of the culture, in

all the complexity this entails.

4. Is there any cultural product that consists entirely of language? Can you give an example?

Many cultural products, such as literature, tax codes, telephone directories, operating instructions, passports, consist entirely of language. Another example is folklores.

5. What is the meaning of “language is a cultural product in and of itself”?

When spoken and written, language takes on tangible and perceptible forms. These tangible forms, as with any cultural product, can be described through language. We constantly use language to discuss language itself.

6. Can you give an example of how words lead to cultural perspectives?

For example, as we have already learned, the kinship terms specifically used in Chinese lead to a cultural perspective that is different from that of the English-speaking people in this aspect.

7. What did the Chinese teacher find from her in-depth study of “the bumper sticker”?

The perspectives are indeed embodied in words, phrases, and sentences, but they are not always immediately obvious, especially to outsiders.

8. Are there any particular norms made by different communities for their language use?

Yes, there are. Communities define norms for appropriate use of language. Within groups, roles, relationships, and other social factors influence who speaks, what they say, and how they say it. The language forms we use in one set of social circumstances with certain communities are not necessarily the ones we use in others.


我们说语言总是模糊的,指的是我们所说所写的东西总不能完全表达我们的意图。我们 通过说话和写作所传达的意思不仅仅由词语和句子本身决定,听众和读者的理解也起到了一 定的作用。换言之,是交际双方共同创造了语言所表达的意思。

语言的模糊性是与生俱来的。为了沟通,我们必须自己推断出对方的意思,除此之外别 无他法。在理解别人说话时,我们必须推测这些话的意思。这些推测主要基于以下两个来源:

(1)他们所使用的语言;(2)我们的世界知识。这种知识包括能够预知在某种特定语境下人 们通常会说些什么。

语言是模糊的。这意味着无论是读或写,我们永远无法完全地领会他人的意思。换言之, 语言永远无法完全地表达我们的意思。然而,这对跨文化交际意味着什么呢?

首先必须明白,如果交际参与者拥有更多共同的预期和世界知识,交际便会有比较好的 效果。共同的背景、历史和经历使得人们之间的交际较为容易,因为任何一方对另一方用意 的推测都基于共同的经验和知识。来自同一个村子、同一个家庭的两个人当然要比来自地球 不同半球不同城市的两个人少犯交际上的错误,至少不会在推测对方用意上闹笑话。


Understanding the Culture of Conversation

Comprehension questions

1. What made the author feel learning to converse in Mexico City was easier for him/her in one way,

more difficult in another?

It's easier because Mexicans service the relationship and they care about everyone in the conversation. But their conversation doesn?t move in a straight line, drifting around both in the topic and in the way they use words.

2. Why did the Mexican customer slide into the topic of the full eclipse of the sun?

For the Mexican, the conversation starts with one topic, but if another interesting topic seeps in he or she will ride it around for a while. Sticking to the first topic is less important than having an interesting conversation.

3. What did the American businessman feel about the Mexican?s way of conversation?

For the American, a conversation should have a topic, and he wants to take a straight line through it from beginning to end. So he felt very impatient about the Mexican?s way of conversation.

4. What “conversational ideal” was represented by the example of a championship skier who was

interviewed on TV?

The Swedish conversational ideal is to response in a concise manner without elaborating specific details, especially those for self-promotion. .

5. What problems are likely to occur if an American talks with a Swede?

The American may feel totally lost in the conversation since he or she would not get as much information from the Swede as he or she has expected.

6. What are the differences between Anglos and Athabaskans in conversation?

There are a lot differences between them. For instance, at the beginning of a conversation, Anglos almost always speak first. Athabaskans think it is important to know what the social relationship is before they talk with someone. There is another difference in how long one should talk. Athabaskans tend to have longer turns when they talk with each other, but Anglos expect shorter turns.

7. Is it enough just to learn to speak in grammatically correct manners when one learns a foreign

language? What else does he or she also need to know?

It is far from enough just to learn to speak in grammatically correct manners when one learns a foreign language. One also has to know about the culture of using the language in social life, things like who talks first, who talks next, who opens and closes conversations and how they do it, in order to be able to use the language in culturally appropriate manners.

8. In what ways are Chinese similar to or different from the Americans, Mexicans and Swedes ? 14

Unit 5 Culture and Verbal Communication

Reading I

It seems that we Chinese are somewhat similar to Mexicans in the way we are having a conversation. Unlike Americans, we do not usually move in a straight line in a conversation and may also care much about the other?s feeling.

Fill-in Task

Fill in the blanks in the following with the appropriate words or expressions from those given below. What?s confusing to American English Speakers about Athabaskans They do not speak and avoid situations of talking. They _7. keep silent .

They only want to talk to _6. close acquaintances . They play down their own abilities. They avoid direct questions.

They never 9. start a conversation .

They never say anything 1. about themselves . They are 8. slow to take a turn in talking . They talk with a flat tone of voice

They are _11. too indirect and inexplicit . What?s confusing to Athabaskans about American English speakers They talk _ 12. too much . They always talk first. They often talk to _ 10. strangers or people they don?t know . They _5. brag about themselves . They _ 4. ask too many questions _. They always interrupt.

They only talk _2. about what they are interested in . They don?t give others a chance to talk

They are _ 3. always getting excited when they talk.

They are not careful when they talk about things or people

Why do you think American English speakers and Athabaskans have all those mostly negative impressions of each other concerning the way they talk?

Because they tend to judge the others? way of talk according to their own ideas about what is the appropriate way for talking.

Reading II

The Way People Speak

Comprehension questions

1. Why didn?t the American openly disagree with the Italian?

In general, the American did not enjoy verbal conflicts over politics or anything else.


2. What are the differences between “high involvement” style and “high considerateness” style?

Many people from cultures that prefer ―high involvement‖ styles tend to: (1) talk more; (2) interrupt more; (3) expect to be interrupted; (4) talk more loudly at times; and (5) talk more quickly than those from cultures favoring ―high considerateness‖ styles. On the other hand, people from cultures that favor ―high considerateness‖ styles tend to: (1) speak one at a time; (2) use polite listening sounds; (3) refrain from interrupting; and (4) give plenty of positive and respectful

responses to their conversation partners.

3. How do New Yorkers and Californians perceive each other because of their

differences in conversational style?

To some New Yorkers, Californians seem slower, less intelligent, and not as responsive. To some Californians, New Yorkers seem pushy and domineering.

4. What does the author think is the reasonable way to react to cultural differences?

We should know that the way the other speaks may be different from our way of speaking because he or she must have had a different cultural upbringing. We shouldn?t judge the other according to our own standards of what is an acceptable communication style.

5. How to determine whether a culture favors a direct or indirect style in communication?

One way to determine whether a culture favors a direct or indirect style in communi cation is to find out how the people in that culture express disagreement or how they say, ―No.‖

6. On what occasions do American women tend to be more direct than men?

When talking about emotional issues and feelings, American women tend to be more direct than men.

7. What are the goals of indirect communication?

Indirect communication aims not to be angering, embarrassing, or shaming another person. Instead, it aims to be saving face and maintaining harmony in general.

8. How is “Ping-Pong” conversational style different from “Bowling” style?

In an American ―Ping-Pong‖ conversation, one person has the ball and then hits it to the other side of the table. The other player hits the ball back and the game continues. Each part of the conversation follows this pattern: the greeting and the opening, the discussion of a topic, and the

closing and farewell. However, in a Japanese ―Bowling‖ conversation, each participant waits politely

for a turn and knows exactly when the time is right to speak. That is, they know their place in line. In Japanese conversation, long silences are tolerated. For Americans, even two or three seconds of silence can become uncomfortable.


由于在性别、年龄、种族或文化群体、教育、国家或城市的地域、收入或职业群体、个 人经历等各方面的差异,人们分属不同的语言群体,这些差异使我们很难完全领会另一个群 体成员所表达的意思。

在当今世界的跨文化交际中,人们之间的差异是相当大的。人们每天要与来自世界各地 不同文化背景、不同群体的人交往,成功交际的关键在于尽可能地共享对话语意义的推定。 当

16 我们与迥然不同的人打交道时,我们往往不知道该怎样推导出他们的语句意义。因此,在 交


就是来自相同文化、甚至相同家庭中的男性和女性也会经常误解对方的意思,原因是男 性和女性对交际目的有不同的预期。为了让女人高兴,男人要送她一件她真正想要的礼物。 他问女人想要什么礼物——哪怕是上天摘星星。糟糕的是,女人最想要的却是男人可以凭直 觉就知道她想要的是什么。至少在北美社会中,男性和女性对于表达的看法往往不同:前者 倾向于直接明了,后者则倾向于间接委婉。女性觉得不用直接问就知道她想要什么是很重要 的。男性则觉得,如果女性能爽快地告诉他怎样做才能让她高兴就再好不过了。

Unit 6 Culture and Nonverbal Communication

Reading I

An Overview of Nonverbal Communication

Comprehension questions

1. Can you speak each of the following sentences in different ways to mean differently?

1) She is my best friend.

2) You?ve done really good job. 3) Come here, please.

4) That?s all right.

Speaking the same sentence with the stress on different words may mean different things. For instance, if the stress falls on ―she‖ in the first sentence, it means it is SHE, not you or somebody else, that is my best friend. But if the stress falls on ―my‖, it implies that she is MY, not your or somebody?s, best friend.

2. Speakers of British English use loudness only when they are angry, speakers of Indian English use it to get the floor, a chance to speak. So when an Indian speaker is trying to get the floor, whatwould the British speaker think of the Indian and what would the British behave in response?

The British speaker may think that the Indian gets angry with him or behaves rudely towards him, so he may complain about the Indian?s rudeness or even return his rudeness as a response.

3. What differences in body language use have you noticed between your Chinese teachers and

foreign teachers?

There are really some differences between Chinese teachers and foreign teachers in their use of body language. For instance, Chinese teachers in general do not use gestures as much as foreign teachers do, and their facial expressions often seem to be less varied than those of many foreign teachers.

4. Do you know any gestures we often use that might be misunderstood by people from other


For example, the way we Chinese motion to others to come over might be misunderstood by people from some Western countries to mean bye-bye.

5. How do we Chinese people use eye contact in communication?

During a conversation between two Chinese, it seems that the speaker and the hearer would


usually look at each other (not necessarily in the eye) from time to time. How much eye-contact

there is may depend on the relationship between the speaker and hearer and the situation they find themselves in.

6. How will you eye them when you are communicating with people from the United States or people from Japan?

While talking with Americans, we should look directly into the eyes of the person with whom we are talking. However; while talking with Japanese, we are not expected to look at them in the eye but at a position around the Adam?s apple.

7. Do you often smile at others? Why or why not?

It depends. For instance, it seems that we Chinese, as well as people of other Eastern Asian countries, do not usually smile at strangers as much as Americans.

8. What function(s) may laughter serve in our culture? Does it sometimes cause

intercultural misunderstanding?

Laughter in our culture may serve various functions. Sometimes, it is used to express amusement or ridicule, and sometimes it is simply used to make one feel less embarrassed. 9. Do you often touch others while talking with them? Whom do you touch more than others?

We Chinese generally do not often touch others while talking with them unless they are our intimate friends or younger children.

10. In small groups or in pairs, demonstrate all the possible ways you can think of to greet another person. Is touching always part of a greeting?

No. Touching is not always part of a greeting in our culture as in some other cultures. 11. Will you apologize if you accidentally touch other people in public places? Why or why not?

Many people will apologize if they accidentally touch other people in public places since in our culture people who are strangers to each other should not touch. However, whether people will apologize or not depends on the situations. If a person accidentally touches a stranger in a very crowded place, he or she may not apologize for it.

Matching Task

When trying to operate in a cross-cultural situation, we frequently face a myriad of potential communication hazards. Not only do different cultures speak unintelligible languages, but their body languages are often mutually incomprehensible as well. Different gestures may serve the same function, and the same gesture can have a number of unanticipated consequences when dealing with

people from different cultures. Think over the following and make a proper match between cultures and gestures or the meanings they convey.

1) How to beckon somebody to come over (1) in the U.S.A. b. just waving the index finger (2) in the Middle East d. waving the hand with the palm up (3) in Portugal a. waving the hand with the palm down (4) in Tonga c. downward waving of the arm 2)How to point something or somebody out

(1) in the U.S.A. (2) in Mongolia

c. extending the index finger a. pointing with the lips (3) 18

in India

in Guinea-Bissau

3) How to show approval (1) in France (2) in Greece (3) in Tonga (4) in Kenya

d. pointing with the chins (4) b. pointing with the tongue c. having one thumb up

d. tilting one ?s head a. raising one?s eyebrows b. having two thumbs up

4)What the O.K. sign may mean (1) in Brazil c. something vulgar (2) in Russia a. rudeness (3) in France d. something worthless (4) in Japan b. money 5)What the folded arms may suggest

(1) in the U.S.A. b. impatience (2) in Russia c. being rude (3) in Finland d. arrogance (4) in Wales a. no special meaning 6) What is the appropriate type of handshake (1) in the U.S.A. c. firm handshake

(2) in France a. soft handshake (3) in Japan d. handshake with the arm firmly extended (4) in Middle East b. handshake and free hand placed on forearm of the other 7) What a widening of eyes may mean (1) in the U.S.A and U.K. b. surprise, wonder (Really!) (2) in Latin America (3) in France in Africa

d. call for help (I don?t understand) c. challenge (I don?t believe you) (4) a. persuasion (I?m innocent)

8) What the tug on one?s earlobe may suggest (1) in Greece c. a warning (2) in Spain a. you are a sponger (3) in Portugal b. something wonderful (4) in Scotland d. doubts about what you are saying

Reading II

Comprehension questions

Gender and Nonverbal Communication

1. What may often happen to those who do not conform to their culture?s accepted gender “script”?

There are often severe social penalties for those who act in violation of their culture?s accepted gender ―script.‖

2. Does touch have any connotation in different situations? Can you give some specific examples?

Touch, like physical closeness, may be considered an expression of affection, support, or sexual attraction. For instance, in some cultures, it may be all right for women friends and relatives to walk arm-in-arm, dance together, and hug one another, but if men do so, they may be frowned upon, for it would be considered as having the connotation of being homosexual. 19

3. What will possibly happen to a woman who is appreciably taller than the man?

Taller women may attempt to diminish themselves, to slouch and round their shoulders so as to retreat or to occupy as little space as possible.

4. Are men and women required to have the same facial expressions? Does smile mean the same things to both men and women?

Men and women are not usually required to have the same facial expressions. Smile may mean different things to men and women. For females smile functions as an expression of pleasure, pleasantness, or a desire for approval, while males may resist any nonverbal display of expression to others in order to appear more masculine, because being facially expressive is often seen as a marker

of ―femininity‖.

5. Why are the African-American women less deferential than white women and less inclined to smile?

African-American women are found to be less deferential than white women and, therefore, less inclined to smile, simply because it is expected of them to be so in their culture. 6. In what ways may direct eye contact between individuals be interpreted?

Looking directly into another person?s eyes can connote an aggressive threat, a sexual invitation, or a desire for honest and open communication.

7. What was found in a study of nonverbal communication among Hispanic couples?

In a study of nonverbal communication among Hispanic couples, it was found that many Puerto Rican wives never looked directly at their husbands.

8. How does clothing manifest and promote cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity?

Through clothing and make-up, the body is more or less marked, constituted as an appropriate, or, as the case may be, inappropriate body for its cultural requirements. Males and females have to dress themselves appropriately according to their cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity.


非言语交际被认为是不直接依靠语言使用的任何交际方式。然而,一般来说,很难知道 言语交际方式与非言语交际方式的区分到底在哪儿。有些非言语交际方式,例如点头,总是 伴随着言语,而且是语言使用时言语系统的一部分。另一方面,像舞蹈和音乐等交际形式常 常是没有任何言语成分的。我们在这里想做的只是要引起大家对一个事实的注意,即人类交 往

的许多方面都依赖于那些不能轻易转换为言语、但却对我们相互理解至关重要的交际形式。 当然, 我们不能不强调口语和书面语交际的重要性,然而我们也必须意识到许多交际的发 生并不使用语言。一个人出席会议时的穿着会可能是暗示其他与会者,他或她打算如何参与 会议。事实上,我们能运用我们行为或表现的任何方面来和他人进行交际。

Reading I

Unit 7 Time and Space Across Cultures


Comprehension questions

The Heartbeat of Culture

1. According to the author, it seems that time “talks.” But what is time telling us?

Since time is a human conception, it can tell us very much about people and their attitude toward life.

2.Does it matter very much when timepieces are often inaccurate in Brazil? Why or why not?

No, it doesn?t, for nobody minds it. In Brazil, people seem to be very flexible in their concepts of time and punctuality.

3. Why doesn?t the author need to look at a clock to know when the class hour is ending while he is

teaching in California?

Because a few minutes before the end of the class he will surely notice the students shuffling their books and the strained expressions on their faces that seem to be saying, ―I?m starving… I?ve got to go to the bathroom… I?m going to suffocate if you keep us one more second.‖

4. What differences did the author find between his students in Brazil and his students in the United States?

He found some differences between his Brazilian students and American students. For instance, many Brazilian students came late to his class, some very late. Instead of appearing apologetic, all the latecomers wore the relaxed smiles and none seemed terribly concerned about lateness. Unlike American students who would leave the classroom as soon as the class is over, Brazilian students may still linger in the classroom long after the close of class.

5. What are Brazilians likely to attribute lateness for appointments to?

Brazilians are likely to attribute lateness for appointments to unforeseen circumstances that the person couldn?t control. They seem less inclined to feel personally responsible for being late. So they express less regret for their own lateness and blamed others less when others are late.

6. How do Brazilians usually view people who are consistently unpunctual?

It seems to them that lack of punctuality is a badge of success. They believe that a person who is consistently late is probably more successful than one who is consistently on time, and they seem to be used to the idea that someone of status is expected to arrive late.

7. What are the greatest difficulties that many Americans working abroad have encountered?

Many Americans working and living in other countries often say that their greatest difficulties with the local people, after language problems, are the general pace of life and the punctuality of others, that may be very different from what Americans are familiar with. 8. Does the author believe that greater speed means more progress?

No. In his opinion, speed is frequently confused with progress in today?s world. By looking carefully at the different paces of life around the world, we will be able to distinguish more accurately between the two qualities that are really different.


Reading II

The Language of Space

Comprehension questions

1. How do you understand it when the author says that space in many ways has become an extension of us?

Most of us never think about space but we intuitively know what the right distance is and we feel uncomfortable with people who use space in a way different from ours.

2. Why does one?s invisible bubble of personal space sometimes expand or contract?

One?s invisible bubble of space expands and contracts depending on a number of things: the relationship to the people nearby, the person?s emotional state, cultural background, and the activity being performed.

3. What would a Northern European tend to do when he accidentally brushes the overcoat sleeves of a stranger?

In northern Europe, one does not touch strangers. If a Northern European accidentally brushes the overcoat sleeves of a stranger, he will probably make an apology.

4. What are the differences between a German house and an American one?

The German house itself emphasizes privacy. All rooms have doors with locks, and the doors are closed and often locked. In contrast to Germany, houses in the United States may have fences or hedges surrounding the backyard, but the front yards are wide open and inviting. Doors of the rooms in a house tend to be open.

5. How do the Japanese create their privacy sphere when they are in crowds?

The Japanese are able to create their privacy sphere when they are in crowds. The private bubble and the personal space are more a creation of the mind than an actual existence. The Japanese connect privacy with mental space.

6. What cultural concept is emphasized in the arrangement of space within the Middle Eastern houses?

Middle Eastern cultures reflect their attitudes towards privacy and personal space in the way they arrange their houses. The family is protected from the outside world by walling itself off in a

realm of privacy. Within the house, personal space for the individual is often limited; family togetherness is emphasized. Within the family space, men?s and women?s areas are also separated.

7. How do Americans organize their public space?

People from the United States carry their idea of individuality over into public spaces. They consider it their right to walk and play on the grass in the park. Government buildings in the United States are open to the public. Right to access is considered important.

8 What is the right way of dealing with issues of space and privacy in an intercultural environment?

How we approach people and how we deal with space and issues of privacy have deep cultural


roots. We may not agree with or like what others do. That is not the issue; the point is that we must

understand what the others are doing and why they are doing it.


今天有许多人总想在很短的时间内做很多的事,这种时间观念可以称作“时间强迫”行 为综合症,就是不断地试图超越人类能力所限去完成更多的事情。直到不久以前,“时间强迫” 还一直被认为是美国人、尤其是出生于从经济大萧条时期直到第二次世界大战结束这个阶段 一代美国男性的重要特征。很明显, 这种“时间强迫”的观念现在已不再仅仅是这一代美国男 性的文化特征,它已成为亚洲“工薪阶层”的一个特点,并作为商务国际化的一个方面而迅 速传遍整个世界。 这种时间观念最重要的影响之一就是:在某个交际情境中,节奏较快的交


总会对较慢的参与者做某种消极的评价。那些共享“时间强迫”观念的人通常会觉得其他行 动比他们慢的人是保守的、不合作的、阻止变化的、反对进步的。隐藏在“时间强迫”观念 之后的是那种未来永远好于过去的理念,而这一理念是牢固地建立在对进步的信仰基础之上 的。

Unit 8 Cross-cultural Perception

Reading I

French Leave and Dutch Courage

Comprehension questions

1. Among the English idioms mentioned in Reading I, some are emotionally “neutral” in that they only deal with “flora and fauna and products” that are not native to England. However, some other

idioms may carry the British cultural values and attitudes toward other nations. Can you divide the idioms into two different groups under the title of “culturally neutral” and “culturally loaded”?

Idioms which are culturally neutral include: Danish pastry, Flemish bond, Irish stew, Italic handwriting, Portuguese man-or-war, Russian roulette, Spanish fly, Scotch pine, Swiss roll, Turkish delight and Welsh rarebit. Idioms which are culturally loaded include: Belgian hare, Dutch barn, French letter, German measles, Greek gifts and Swedish drill.

2. What psychological effects may those “culturally loaded” idioms have upon people who use


Such culturally loaded idioms may make people who use them form negative stereotypes about those from other nations.

How do those idioms indicate the British perception of different nations and of themselves as 3.


Many idioms concerning other nations suggest that the British?s used to hold others in derision and contempt. But all those related to the British themselves indicate that the British used to view themselves in positive ways.

4. Why is it the Dutch who have contributed the greatest number of the most pejorative terms in


Because the Dutch used to be the commercial and maritime rivalries with the British for centuries.


5. What are the examples in the French language that suggest the French?s attitude toward the


The examples given in this reading are ―une capote anglaise‖ for French letter and ―filer a

l?anglaise” for French leave, which indicate that in their language the French?s attitude toward the

British is the same as that of the British towards the French in English.

6. Why is it said that English seems to be kinder to small nations than those of its own size once seen

as rivals? Because those countries such as Switzerland and Denmark have not been the British?s major rivals.

7. How are the British reflected in their own language?

The British are reflected in their own language as congenial, animal-loving people devoted to the pleasures of the table, the home, the library, the garden, the chase and the sporting life.

8. Can you find similar idioms in the Chinese language? What do they usually mean?

Yes. There are some similar idioms and phrases in Chinese, but they seem to be not as many as those in English, especially the ones in which the name of a specific country is mentioned. However, there used to be some phrases in which the character ―洋‖ is employed to refer to anything that was initially introduced into China from abroad or that are different from traditional Chinese ones, such as 洋布,洋房,洋装,洋车,洋灰(水泥),洋碱(肥皂),洋娃娃,出洋相.

Fill-in Task

Complete each of the following sentences with the appropriate word from those given below. Some

words may be used more than once.

1. 2. 3. 4.

Excuse my French (粗话,冒犯之语), but he?s a bloody nuisance! The headmaster always talks to the pupils like a Dutch uncle(唠哩唠叨训人的人). I don?t understand this book at all, it?s all Greek (令人费解的话)to me! If you wanted me to go, why didn?t you say so in plain English (平易、明白的英语) instead of making vague hints?

5. Scratch a _ Russian _(抓破俄国人的外皮), and you?ll find a Tartar(鞑靼人,主要 指

蒙古游牧民族,被许多欧洲人视为野蛮人). Do you understand what I mean? 6. Keep away from; his _Irish _ is up (动怒,发脾气)

7. I?ll have a couple of drinks to give me Dutch _ courage (酒后之勇,一时的虚勇) .

8. It?s good to see that old film star enjoying a(n) _ Indian summer (兴旺的晚期) with

her second highly acclaimed film this year.

9. Before she left, she said a final goodbye and give him a long _ French _ kiss (深吻). 10. The companies do not wish to Welsh _ on (赖帐,毁约)their debts to banker if though

their business seems to be not good at the moment.

Reading II

Ethnocentrism and Ethnorelativism

Comprehension questions 1. What is ethnocentrism?

Ethnocentrism is negatively judging aspects of another culture by the standards of one?s own 24

culture. It is the technical name for the view of things in which one?s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it.

2. How do we usually judge others?

We tend to judge others by applying our own standards. Therefore, we may view those who are different from us as inferior to us.

3. Are people often deliberately ethnocentric?

No, people aren?t deliberately ethnocentric. They are often ethnocentric just because they have been socialized to be ethnocentric.

4. How does the way people draw their maps reflect their views of the world?

Ethnocentrism often is expressed in the way people draw their maps. People tend to draw maps of the world with their own country at the center and with other parts of the world depicted as peripheral. 5. How is ethnocentrism demonstrated in the way people communicate with others

who are different?

It can be demonstrated in various degrees: low ethnocentrism reflects the lack of sensitivity in our verbal and nonverbal interaction in dealing with others who are different; moderate ethnocentrism reflects attempted language or dialect switching in the presence of out-group members, and with displayed nonverbal inattention to accentuate in-group connection and avoidance of out-group members; and high ethnocentrism refers to the use of verbal sarcasms, racist jokes, hate-filled speech, and physical violence to marginalize or obliterate the existence of out-group members.

6. What might be the consequences of ethnocentrism in intercultural communication?

Ethnocentrism in intercultural communication can easily lead to ―us‖ versus ―them‖ thought and language. The collective pronouns ―us‖ and ―them‖ become powerful influences on perception. The names given to ―them‖ can be used to justify their suppression and even their extermination. 7

Do you think education and intercultural exchange may help eradicate ethnocentrism?

No. Education and intercultural exchange do help reduce the degree of ethnocentrism, but they

can?t really eradicate ethnocentrism, a sort of natural tendency, for people live in the context of their

8. Why should we try to be culturally relative?

Because all cultures are of equal value and the values and behavior of a culture can only be judged using that culture as a frame of reference.


如果接受这样的信念,认为以往的存在状况影响着我们对现实的看法,并且接受相应的 原则,认为每个人都有着相似的但又不完全一样的个人经历,那么,随之就得到这样的结论: 另一个人对宇宙的描述不一定会和我们对宇宙的描述完全一样。然而,我们大多数人似乎仍 认为我们自己感知事物的方法是唯一正确的。我们常常忽略感知的差异,并且断定,如果一

25 个人不知道巴比罗·毕加索是有史以来最伟大的艺术家,他简直就不懂艺术。实际上,他很 可

culture so they can hardly get rid of their culture?s influences on their thinking, behaving and way of

living. What one needs to do is to develop the attitude of ethnorelativism.


在我们的日常活动中,感知差异常常出现在不同的群体之间。不同年代的人、不同少数 民族、不同职业和不同文化有着相冲突的价值观念和目标,这些都影响着他们对于现实的感 知和解释。

我们的文化是导致感知不一致的主要因素。文化影响着我们对于现实看法的形成。因此, 它在跨文化交际中起着一种主导作用。我们的文化以各种方式告诉我们,怎样去判断别人, 使用什么标准去做判断。这样评价的危险在于它们常常是不真实的,武断的并导致误解的。 相信并在行为中表现出仿佛只有我们和我们的文化才发现了最真实而且是唯一的标准,对世 界持这样的看法是极其天真幼稚的。

Unit 9 Intercultural Adaptation

Reading I

Comprehension questions

1. What are the terms that can be applied to the concept of “culture shock”?

Terms that can be applied to the concept of ―culture shock‖ are culture stress, adaptation, transition shock, adjustment, socialization, and so on.

2. What are the symptoms of a person at his or her “honeymoon stage” in the process of adapting to a new culture?

In this stage, one feels a sense of excitement, pleasure, and self-satisfaction for making the decision to come to this beautiful place. In his or her view, nearly everything appears wonderful. 3. Does everybody experience the Stage Two? How to cope with the negative feelings one may have at this stage?

No, some people never experience this stage. In order to cope with the negative feelings one may have at this stage, one should not withdraw from all contact with the new culture and instead try to have more contact with the host nationals.

4. According to the author, what is the best thing to do when one is experiencing culture shock?

The best thing to do when you are experiencing culture shock is to admit that you are experiencing culture shock, try to identify your stage of culture shock, and work toward becoming

more familiar with the new culture.

Adapting to a New Culture

5. What are the problems that people are confronted with when they return to the home culture from overseas?

Upon their first returning home, there is a sense of relief and excitement about being in familiar surroundings. However, a sense of depression and negative outlook follows the initial reentry cycle, for a person may find that the home culture is no longer the same. They may have difficulty readjusting to the home culture and the reentry process has often involved their suffering quietly with stress.

6. What are the improvements people usually make when they get into Stage Three?


When people get into Stage Three, they become more accustomed to the foods, sights, sounds,

smells, and nonverbal behaviors of the new culture and have less physical problems and less confusion, uncertainty, and loneliness. Their normal contacts with host nationals are increasing and now they can accept themselves and others around them.

7. What do you think of the author?s suggestion of using the native language to compliment people in the host culture?

It is very important for one to be able to use the native language if one hopes to survive successfully in a new cultural environment, for it can not only compliment the local people, but also greatly enhance mutual understanding.

8. Do you have any other suggestions for adapting successfully to a new culture?

Apart from those suggestions given by the author, one should also try to learn from those who have much experience in adapting to a new culture, which may be helpful in one?s effort to overcome the difficulties in the process of cultural adaptation..

Reading II

Overcoming Ethnocentrism in Communication

Comprehension questions

1. Why do people involved in intercultural communication often evaluate the other(s) negatively?

Because in intercultural communication we tend to use the categories of our own culture to judge and interpret the behaviors of the others who are culturally different from us.

2. What is the basic difference between American and Japanese communication styles?

The basic difference may be that Americans are much more direct while Japanese are very indirect. 3. What will happen when communicators engage in mutual negative evaluation in American-Japanese interaction?

When communicators engage in mutual negative evaluation, the communication event may deteriorate even further. The American, sensing Japanese reluctance to confront a problem, becomes even more personal and aggressive. The Japanese, reacting to an embarrassing social indiscretion, becomes even more formal and indirect.

4. What do you think the Nigerian communication style is like?

Nigerians are inclined to take the more contextual style in communication. They tend to provide as much context as they can before they get to the point.

5. Why does the Thai employee continue to use the formal title to address his American manager in their conversations?

Because the Thai people usually consider it quite disrespectable to address the manager by his first name, for in their culture, one should always be aware of one?s place in the organization?s hierarchy and behave accordingly. .

6. Why does the author say that the case of American-British interaction deserves closer attention? 27

Because the case of American-British interaction is more complicated. Americans and the British employ different cultural approaches in response to different occasions. The British, like other Europeans, tend to use a low-context approach to intellectual confrontation and a more high-context style in personal matters of feeling and relationship, whereas Americans usually treat a relationship in a low-context manner handle intellectual confrontation in a high-context manner.

7. What should we do to overcome the tendency to stereotype and negatively evaluate others who are culturally different from us?

We can overcome the tendency to stereotype and generate negative evaluations by approaching every cross-cultural situation as a kind of experiment. Using available generalizations about the other culture, we can formulate a hypothesis and then test it for accuracy. As more knowledge of relevant cultural differences is acquired, generalizations can become more specific, hypotheses more particular, and communication difficulties more predictable.

8. If we cannot help making generalizations, how to use cultural generalizations effectively?

We can use generalizations to hypothesize likely areas of contrast and possible communication problems and then acquire specific cultural differences through intercultural practice.


身处异域文化的人们总会面临着这样一个问题,即为了适应当地人的信仰、价值观、准 则和社会规范,到底需要在多大程度上改变自己的行为举止呢?在交往中谁有责任把文化差 异考虑在内?是应该让来访者、新来的人或旅居者调整自己的行为以适应当地文化,还是让 当地人改变交流方式,从而为初来乍到的人们提供便利?人们必须多大程度地改变自己文化 的信仰、价值观、准则和社会行为来以适应主导文化的模式呢?

俗话说“入乡随俗”,很明显,这让改变的重任落在了新来者的身上。话虽很有道理,但 并不能适用于所有情况。在大多数情况下,顺应当地文化期望的行为表现出对异文化和习俗 的尊重。这样的顺应能够使新来者真正地与当地人进行交流和互动。尊重不同文化中语言和 非语言代码的差异意味着跨文化交际者有责任合理地、尽可能多地学习这些交际代码。当然, 如何才算合理的、尽可能多的,那要视具体情况而定。有的时候,新来者全面地采用当地的文化规则可能会被视为无礼的行为,使属于当地文化群体的人们感到不安。

Unit 10 Acquiring Intercultural Competence Reading I

A Culture Learning Story

Comprehension questions

1. Why did English attract the author so much?

The author was attracted by the musicality of English, its different rhythm, intonation, and fluency which took her into a completely different world than the world of Japanese. .

2. What did the author consider to be important in learning English after she entered university?

She strongly believed that English as a language should be communicative, and that the number of


words one remembered was not the top priority.

3. Why did the author think that native speakers of English were not necessarily able to teach the

language effectively?

Sometimes native speakers of English may not see what specific points in the language need to be explained and how, because they have never had the problems the students are struggling with in learning English.

4. What was the most satisfying and effective learning experience for the author when she was a


The teaching job made her study about the language and cultural differences more carefully. She learned many lessons from the students? errors. She also asked American friends to help answer grammatical questions and explain differences of nuances in similar vocabulary words. Discussing cultural differences also made her think about her life values. All of this was the most satisfying and effective learning experience for her.

5. Why did the author decide to leave Japan?

The teaching experience made her feel bewildered with life in general. She felt unwelcome, disoriented, and uncomfortable in Japan. So she decided to leave Japan to have time and space to discover more about herself. Also, the negative feelings toward Japan made her more motivated to assimilate herself to Western ways because they seemed more accepting and understanding of her.

6. What made the author?s experience in the United States smooth and natural?

One major reason was that her pronunciation was much closer to that of many Americans than that of many other Japanese speakers of English. The other reason was that she knew basic social reactions and responses in American society. Also, she had already taken in some Western values as part of her own value system.

7. Why was the author?s experience of participating in a conference in Philippines significant for


This experience helped her become aware that she was basically a Japanese even though her behaviors and values had been greatly westernized and she could speak English fluently. She also felt a deeper sense of responsibility to help nonnative speakers of English become more articulate in expressing their own values in cross-cultural situations. Becoming an English teacher made great sense to her after this conference.

8. How does the author define “betweenness of identity”?

―Betweenness of identity‖ is a state of mind that is distinct from that of a typical, traditional

standard in either native language/culture or second language/culture. It exists somewhere in between native language/culture and second language/culture. It is a result of the whole recreation process of a person?s own identity after taking different characteristics from the second language or

culture into the person?s original identity. However, this should not be considered as an incomplete or inferior identity, either to native language/culture, or to second language/culture, but as another, originally created, independent one.

Reading II


Improving Intercultural Communication

Comprehension questions

1. Is knowing oneself less difficult than knowing others? Why or why not?

Knowing oneself may be as difficult as knowing others. There are many things for us to know and some of those things are not easy for us to identify, for they are taken-for-granted and hidden from our consciousness.

2. What are the things that would bias the way we perceive the world?

Those attitudes, prejudices, and opinions that we all carry around would bias the way we perceive the world.

3. Could you give some examples of hidden personal premises in our life?

We often make some generalizations about foreign cultures, and use such generalizations as premises, on which our understanding of foreigners is often based. For example, we may believe and take it for granted that Americans are very direct in communication. So when we are communicating with Americans, we will expect them to behave in direct manners and try to understand them on the basis of this premise.

4. Is the way you present yourself exactly the same as the way you perceive yourself? How does this

affect your communication with others?

Not exactly the same. The way you perceive yourself might be different from the way you present yourself to others. In other words, your self-image may not be the same as the image you portray to others. This discrepancy may result in serious problems in communication. For instance, other people may not understand you in the way you would like yourself to be understood.

5. Why is language said to be more than a vehicle of communication?

Language is not only a means of communication but also a carrier of culture. Language teaches

one a culture?s lifestyle, ways of thinking, and different patterns of interacting.

6. Why is developing empathy important to intercultural communication?

With empathy we are able to see things from the point of view of others so that we can better

know and adjust to the other people. Empathy can help us become sensitive to the values and

customs of the people with whom we are interacting. This will prevent us from misunderstanding people of other cultures and greatly improve our communication with them.

7. Why do we have to be motivated to understand even those people who seem to be separated from

us by either distance or culture?

Because we live in an interconnected world today, and we must therefore be motivated to understand everyone — regardless of how much we seem separated from them by either distance or



8. How can we accurately read messages from people of other cultures?

We have to know how the frame of the reference of other cultures differs from our own, and this knowledge will assist us in accurately interpreting the words and actions of people of other cultures.

Matching Task

Some important attributes of a competent intercultural communicator have been identified. These attributes are components of intercultural competence with which we are able to communicate effectively with people from various cultures.

Try to make a proper match between each of the attributes and the ability associated with it.

Attributes 1.Tolerance for ambiguity 2.Open-mindedness 3. Flexibility 4.Respectfulness 5.Adaptability 6.Sensitivity 7.Creativity


b. Ability to meet new situations with mindfulness f. Ability to respond to others in non-evaluative ways a. Ability to shift frame of reference

e. Ability to show positive regard for the other(s) g. Ability to behave appropriately to particular situations d. Ability to convey empathy verbally and nonverbally c. Ability to engage in different modes of thinking


理想的减少交际失误的办法是同交际的其他参与者共享知识。这就是为什么同一文化群体的成员之间最容易交际的原因。这也解释了为什么在社交上人们总是同与自己很接近的人 聚在一起。当你不必费力就能理解所发生的事情或者让别人明白你的意图时,交际将变得更 为轻松顺畅。

遗憾的是,在大多数情况下,这样的联系在交际中时常是不可能存在的。我们甚至可以 进一步说,那不仅是不可能的,而且也是不受欢迎的。今天, 交际发生的情境常常是不同文化 群体成员之间在交际。

由于跨文化交际是在不同文化群体成员之间进行的,因此,既然我们之间不共享知识、 假设、价值观念和话语形式,我们必须预料到相互理解时将会发生问题。我们必须注意这些 问题,根据我们之间的差异预计哪儿会出现问题,接着调整我们的交际使之尽可能有效。 和其他群体共享知识并不等同于要加入那个群体并成为其成员。有些群体对吸纳新成员 相当排斥。在提高跨文化交际能力时,我们应该记住, 无论我们多么地了解并欣赏另一种文化, 都不太可能成为这种文化的成员。关键是要尽可能地了解其他文化,以便理解和掌握相互之 间的差异和共性。