Language and Communication within the Culture


The relationship between language, culture and communication is quite interrelated. Culture is usually carried by the language, and language is used to communicate. Intercultural Communication will fail without a good understanding of the different cultures, and understanding is not always easy.

In other words, culture can't be separated from or ignored when learning a language in communication.

In this unit, some general concepts, models and types of communication are introduced. What's more, some interesting cases are provided to help the students gain insights into different cultural values that influence intercultural communication.

Main Ideas

1. Communication Criteria 交际要素

When Communication occurs

  • there should be at least two or more communicators , A and B;
  • there must be some contact between communicators;
  • there must be a language shared by communicators;
  • there must be an exchange of information .

The communicators can be human beings, animal or machine.

2. Types of Communication 交际类型

    • human communication
    • animal communication
    • human-animal
    • human-machine
    • machine-to-machine communication

3. Communication Contact 交际接触方式

    • Two-way contact: communicators can see each other and monitor each other's behavior - direct communication
    • One-way contact: communicators can't see each other, and therefore can't monitor each other's behavior - indirect communication

4. Models of Communication 交际模式

    • Mono-cultural language communication (同种文化语言交际): communication between people speaking the same language.
    • Unilaterally cross-cultural language communication (单向跨文化语言交际): cross-cultural communication together with a bilingual speaker
    • Bilaterally cross-cultural language communication (双向跨文化语言交际): communication between people /interlocutors who have mastered both languages; they can switch freely to either of the two languages.

5. Meanings in Communication 交际涵义

    • Utterance meaning: "How long is she going to stay?"; Its utterance meaning is what it normally means.
    • Speaker's meaning: the meaning the speaker has intended to convey by way of utterance meaning.
    • Hearer's meaning: the meaning the hearer has understood on the basis of the utterance meaning.

6. Goals in a Social Situation 社会场景的交际目的

    • Institutionalized goals in public places (that's accepted by most people)
    • Private goals (which are personal)

7. One Unique Feature of Chinese Politeness 中国人表示礼貌的一个主要特征

    • Self-denigration and other-elevation (贬己尊人): Chinese people often try to show their politeness by belittling themselves and elevating others when talking face to face. - all rights reserved