ERIC Number: ED341277
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Innocents Abroad: The Politics of Cross-Cultural Communication.
Some failure types that occur in cross-cultural interactions are described, mainly from the point of view of Finns and Finland and from primarily anecdotal and "folk theoretical" data. Material from such sources as newspapers, joke collections, proverbs, and student experiences are used as the basis of the discussion. Non-grammatical errors, or the errors concerned with the breakdown of conversational rules or nonverbal behavior, are seen to compromise a speaker more than grammatical or lexical errors. Anecdotal evidence is presented to illustrate difficulties in cross-cultural communication resulting from negative attitudes and unfavorable stereotypes, although it is suggested that stereotyping is not inherently negative because it helps organize bits of information and attitudes of all kinds that are embedded in every situation. The complexities of interpretation are noted, as are non-native pronunciation difficulties when the speaker inadvertently uses a taboo expression (e.g., "impotent" rather than "important"). Similarly, problems related to interlingual taboo words in advertising or trade names are discussed. Other classes of language errors are considered, including clumsy translations, odd spellings of a foreign language, discourse problems such as temporal patterns of communication, nonverbal problems such as those dealing with proximity, and social errors related to eating, drinking, and sanitation. Contains 24 references. (LB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conversation; Finland
Note: In: Communication and Discourse across Cultures and Languages. AFinLa Yearbook 1991; see FL 020 041.