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I. Intercultural Communication (ICC): pedagogical perspectives

0. Globalization, Internet, Diversity


            „The Internet has revolutionized the business world like never before. The Internet is at once a world-wide broadcasting capability, a mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location. It is quite evident that many businesses are now pushing more of their resources to develop an Internet platform.

            Indeed, the Internet is a huge melting pot of people. It is where you will encounter diversity of ideas and culture. Many of us are considering to have their own business. We think of starting out small and would only be dealing with friends, neighbors, within our city or with local or domestic customers. So we will initially reconcile to the fact that we will just be dealing with people who talk and look like us. But you must also welcome the idea that you will also be transacting business with different people with different cultures. If you are going to put up a business on the Internet, take into consideration that you are opening it up to the world. Even if you are staying in just one country, you are serving customers from almost every point and corner of the world, and everywhere in between”. Read more:


1. ICC from the viewpoint of learners


            «Intercultural communication is an implicit element of most language courses or features as an autonomous subject in other disciplinary fields. Where intercultural communication features as an autonomous subject the content is theoretically grounded in a specific discipline, e.g. anthropology, linguistics, philosophy and sociology. Alternatively, it is frequently linked to subjects like business studies, economics and tourism with the aim of providing students with the competence to operate in the professional sector concerned. In some cases it is taught not only as knowledge and a skill but also with the aim of promoting an appropriate attitude / awareness as an integrated part of language learning. Intercultural communication is sometimes associated with translation or with intercultural knowledge dissemination. In some business schools it is taught as part of business language degrees. In general, foreign language degree programmes do not offer courses in intercultural communication as such. Business schools and the business / economics faculties of universities offer a variety of courses on cultural theory and behaviour but many of these have no direct connection to languages at all. In the context of language learning the emphasis will be on the integration of intercultural communication and language learning.

            Having completed a first cycle higher education programme of language study, incorporating explicit study of intercultural communication, in higher education, students should have acquired:

  • knowledge of the cultures, institutions, histories and ways of life of different communities and the ability to recognise their impact on behavioural norms in given fields of communication
  •     understanding of the relationship between culture, contexts of communication and language use
  •     insight into the roles and conventions governing behaviour within specific intercultural environments
  •     critical awareness of their own and others’ beliefs and values
  •     sensitivity towards cultural stereotypes and related obstacles to successful intercultural communication


Students who have acquired such knowledge and understanding will be expected to demonstrate the capacity for:


  • effective communication in the language of their interlocutor
  • application of the knowledge of culture and cultural values to the management of intercultural contexts
  • adaptation of their behaviour according to the demands of different intercultural situations
  • identification and critical analysis of the cultural components of authentic media of communication
  •  reflection on the cultural factors influencing their own behaviour and that of others


IC is generally an integrated sub‐component of language learning (...). It comprises a complex combination of knowledge, skills and attributes which are (…) infrequently taught and evaluated holistically. In focus are courses involving intercultural communication in language degree programmes (…) for university students at BA level. The courses provide students with knowledge and understanding about language, culture, institutions and different ways of life in differing communities, facilitate the application of this knowledge in intercultural situations by training in linguistic and intercultural skills and encourage reflection about their own cultural and linguistic behaviours, practices and attitudes as well as those of others. Read more:


2. Principles of ICC


2.1. Language and Culture.  Culture is a superior semiotic system including language. Consequenly, language is culturally determined. If you want to learn English you should learn English / American culture and language (linguaculture) together.

2.2. Mediation between cultures. ICC mediation is the conveyance of messages between two or more linguacultures. Forms of interacting with representatives of different linguacultures  are rypes of ICC. If you speak to an Englishman / American you necessarily mediate between Hungarian and  British / American cultures. If you are an English-Hungarian interpreter, translator or tourist guide you also mediate between Hungarian and  British / American cultures. In conclusion, every form of ICC is intercultural mediation. 

2.3. Channels of communication. Verbal channel and non-verbal channels  („silent languages”) are integral parts of human communication. You should be aware that the communicating process, especially non-verbal (body language, facial expression, posture etc.) can be subconscious, which often leads to ICC conflicts (misunderstanding, offence, resentment etc.). Watch for any differences in body language.

 2.4. Ethnocentrism. As a rule, our opinions on others are based on our own cultural values. This attitude should be avoided. Preventionally, you need to keep in mind: a) Other linguacultures are not bad, primitive or inferior, they are just different.  Linguacultures must not be neither under-, nor over-evaluated. Just remember that in different cultures „the game” is played differently. A guiding principle should be th well known English proverb „When in Rome, do as Romans do.” In a foreign country we sould acquire the local patterns of communicative behaviour, at least they should be respected. When interacting with people of different cultural package you should find the common denominator and practice the golden mean.


2.5. Practical suggestions


  • „If you don't speak the partner's language (eg. Chinese), learn a few words in his/her lenguage.
  • It is advisable to avoid using slang, idioms.
  • To avoid any contradiction or ambiguity, please choose words that will convey only the most specific denotative meaning.
  • Listen carefully and, if in doubt, ask for confirmation of understanding. Active listening is especially effective because it forces the person receiving the communication to verify with the speaker that the receiver understands.
  • Investigate partner culture's peculiarities.  Observe how they communicate.
  • Read literature about your culture through the partner's eyes.
  • Empathizing with others. (…) With the knowledge of the individual’s culture in mind, the person now makes a comparison between the two cultures and easily identifies what are the main aspects that cause the differences in communication and how they are overcome. (…) Effective intercultural communication will be achieved only when the individuals treat each other’s cultures as equal and not to feel superior to another’s».


Read more: Strategies for Effective Intercultural Communication.  [], email your question to or call 866-937-2361. Article Source: