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ERIC Number: ED532988
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Aug
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
Exploring Intercultural Competence in a Victorian Novel
Malgesini, Frank
Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) (NJ3), Paper presented at the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) Intercultural Competence Conference (ICC) (Aug 2010)
Although the characters speak English, Anne Bronte's "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" explores interactions among representatives of different speech communities. The protagonist, Helen Graham, moves through communities differing enough from hers to create misunderstandings. Her difficulties can be clarified through Hymes' model of the speech community and communicative competence, with speakers separated by cultural assumptions rather than linguistic diversity. Helen sometimes fails to perceive conventions that govern other participants and sometimes refuses to submit to those conventions. She compounds her problems through several interaction strategies, judging others by standards derived from her home community, closing off communication when she encounters unexpected responses, preferring solitude to social interaction and communicating through writing rather than face-to-face encounters. These strategies limit Helen's integration because she remains unaware of her neighbor's conventions, inadvertently provoking hostility through unconventional conduct and because she uses her own conventions as standards for judging others. Her avoidance of encounters limits her opportunity to improve interaction skills. Helen's experiences can help readers gain awareness of how differing expectations and lack of empathy can cause misunderstandings and exacerbate cultural differences. L2 readers may recognize parallels between Helen's experience and their own, leading to greater awareness of issues involved in intercultural competence. [This paper was published in: Proceedings of Intercultural Competence Conference August, 2010, Vol. 1, pp.220-234.]
Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCCL). P.O. Box 210073, CCIT Room 337, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85722. Tel: 520-626-8071; Fax: 520-626-3313; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL)