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ERIC Number: EJ1121257
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2191-611X
Communicating the Cultural Richness of Finnish "Hiljaisuus" (Silence)
Berry, Michael
Language Learning in Higher Education, v1 n2 p399-422 Nov 2012
Our cultural lenses can blind us not only to other cultures but also to what we take for granted in our own culture. Thus, we are often unaware of how and why our cultural background can easily lead to a biased interpretation of others, and we are also often unaware of how even a high level of competence in a foreign language might fail to communicate our cultural meanings to others. This article offers a Finnish pedagogical case study in which there are pragmatic examples of the movement from becoming aware of Finnish cultural richness, often invisible to self and others, towards development of competence to communicate what had been hidden from self and others. Two pragmatic examples demonstrate how students became aware of Finnish communication norms related to positive Finnish silence and also developed some competence to communicate their cultural richness via semantic alternatives rather than direct dictionary translation. One example highlights the value of turning local and exchange students into important academic resources in an intercultural communication course, and the other draws attention to the importance of creating new exercises when there were no "why silence" questions from exchange students during a course. Both these examples demonstrate the importance of students learning via experience and teachers learning from students.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A