In S. Makino (Ed.), The 11th Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Workshop Proceedings (pp. 103-115). 

Princeton University. (May 2003)

 

Integrating Language and Content for Acquisition of Stress-Handling Factors of Intercultural Communication Competence

-A Case of WWW Use in Speech Acts-W

 

Emi Yamanaka

Harvard University

 

 

1. Introduction

 

One of the ultimate goals of language teaching is to enable language learners to live in the target-language community harmoniously.  Obviously, this is not an easy task and language learners experience a lot of stress in the target culture because of their limited fluency in the language as well as cultural differences.  In order to reduce this stress in foreign communities, learners need to develop competency in the language in the sense of communication with people with different life experiences and different cultural patterns of communication, namely, intercultural communication. However, as Byram & Tost Planet (2000) point out, the fact that language teachers are implicitly preparing learners for interaction with people who not only speak a different language but are also from a different country, with a different culture and different social identities, has tended to be overlooked (p.21).

A number of researchers claim that gintercultural communication competence (ICC competence),h an expanded notion of gcommunicative competenceh (Byram, 1997), must be developed for language learners to become competent in the target language.  Byram states that learning foreign language is more than an exchange of information, it is establishing and maintaining relationships. Wiseman (2002) states ICC competence involves the knowledge, motivation, and skills to interact effectively and appropriately with members of different cultures.  According to Redmond (2000), ICC competence consists of six factors: 1) social decentering, 2) knowledge of the host culture, 3) language competence, 4) adaptation, 5) communication effectiveness, and 6) social integration.  He explains these six factors as follows:

 

Social decentering represents an empathic-like ability to take into consideration other peoplefs perspectives, feelings, or thoughts.  Knowledge of host culture represents familiarity and understanding with a culturefs history, traditions, values, and customs.  Language competence refers to the ability to speak, read, listen and understand a host culturefs language.  Adaptation deals with the ability to function and adapt to the lifestyle and customs of a culture.  Communication effectiveness reflects the ability to successfully interact, resolve communication problems, and empathize with members of the host culture.  Finally, social integration deals with establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships with host culture members.  (pp.153-154) 

 

Among these factors, it is assumed that language competence and knowledge of host culture are of most focused in many language classes.  Communication effectiveness requires students to know how people in the host culture communicate and to understand and/or use it.  Some teachers teach this aspect in class; however, it is not an easy task (More discussion as for speech acts in particular is in the next section).  It is obviously impossible for instruction to lead to full acquisition of adaptation factor; however, as Kordes (1991) states, it can be feasible to be learned to some degree by instruction.  In language classroom, therefore, learners can be guided to experience early phases of adaptation by discovering target-language speakersf point of view, questioning the values and presuppositions in their own culture, and creating positive attitude to the other culture and readiness to experience different stages of adaptation.  Social decentering is independent of culturally oriented effects (Redmond, 2000), and social integration requires the other five factors and deals with personality, therefore, these two are extremely difficult to deal in language class.  However, communication effectiveness and adaptation factors should be somehow addressed in language class to lead students to improve ICC competence.  

Redmond found that these two factors, communication effectiveness and adaptation, out of the six factors have a strong correlation to language learnersf handling stress in daily communication in the target culture.  In this sense, the two factors should be also addressed in class so that learners can better handle their stress in target-language community.

In order to address the two factors in language class and eventually contribute to learnersf ICC competence development, language teachers can use communication that greatly reflects different cultural patterns as a tool in class.  Speech act[1], for instance, is one of such examples since sociolinguists have traced intercultural communication to the distinctive nature of value systems and culture (Chick, 1996) and speech acts are greatly influenced by value and culture (Wolfson, 1992).  Le Pair (1996, p.651) claims that socio-cultural variables in speech acts are relevant factors for a personfs ICC competence, viewed as his capacity to communicate appropriately and effectively in a foreign language.  Therefore, in this study, by using speech acts as a device, I propose an example of how teachers can integrate language learning and learnersf intercultural and pragmatic study and how these important factors can be promoted in language classrooms through web-based learning material.

 

 

2. Previous Research in Teaching of Speech Acts and ICC

 

              Although it is important for language learners to obtain sociolinguistic competence and much research on pragmatics has been done, sociolinguists have been slow to address to classroom instruction (Chick, 1996; Judd, 1999). There seem to be several reasons for this.  First, sociolinguists do not want to generalize their data since much research shows various results depending on contexts (Hobbs, 2003).  Secondly, as Hornberger (1993) claims, researchers tend to keep distance from actual teaching field.  Teachers also have difficulties in teaching pragmatic or cultural aspects of language in class for a variety of reasons.  Although there are many teachers who try teaching such aspects, as Bardovi-Harling (1992) points out, there are also many teachers who are unaware of importance of pragmatic competence.  Teachers think that students will encounter cultural aspects, which inevitably accompany with teaching of speech acts, later after they mastered the basic grammar and vocabulary and glaterh never comes (Seelye, 1984).  Teachers cannot spend time for cultural aspects in an already crowded curriculum (Hadley, 1993).  It also seems not easy for busy teachers to collect data or/and to read numbers of study results for class.  Matsumoto et al. (Forthcoming) also claim that, even though some teachers try teaching such aspects, the instruction has tended to follow stereotypes.  Dealing with cultural aspects is sensitive as well because it deals with learnersf unquantifiable factors.  Finally, pragmatic ability is not the highest priority in second language learning. 

Yet, pragmatic knowledge and ability are important for many language learners who want to communicate with people in the target-language community.  Thus, efforts should be made so that research results can be applied to instruction.  Although numbers of problems exist as stated above, some efforts have been made towards classroom application.  Cohen (1996) suggests teachers to obtain information on how native speakers perform certain important speech acts and he claims that information is already available in textbooks and in research literature.  If information is not available, he continues, teachers can obtain the information though observing speech acts as they occur naturally.  Many researchers indeed point to the importance of teachersf use of naturally-occurring examples in class (Judd, 1999; Manes & Wolfson, 1981).  It seems important for teachers to use authentic examples and to avoid using their own stereotypes and reflective thoughts in class.  Teachers need to know how various types of people in the target language community actually use the language as the language changes over time. 

However, this does not quite sound feasible in the actual classroom.  First, textbooks cannot be always a model of native speakersf speech acts.  For example, many beginning level textbooks of the Japanese language introduce denial as the appropriate response to compliments.  This gives a strong impression of modesty in Japanese culture to students, and may lead students to think that they should deny compliments in any situation[2].  A number of researchers, however, claim that the Japanese people accept compliments depending on context/interlocutors.  Secondly, as stated earlier, it is also difficult for teachers to read numerous research articles, try finding results that can be used in class, and apply them appropriately in class.  Thirdly, it is also hard to collect naturally-occurring conversation data for class, especially for teachers who live outside of the country where the target language is spoken.  It has to be reconsidered, therefore, how teachers can teach speech acts in class in a way that makes use of research results, is manageable by teachers, and integrates language and culture.

Wolfson (1989, p.31) claims that gthe acquisition of sociolinguistic rules can be greatly facilitated by teachers who have the necessary information at their command and who have the sensitivity to use their knowledge in order to guide students and help them to interpret values and patterns which they would otherwise have difficulty in interpreting.h  Bardovi-Harling (1992) suggests a way to develop teachersf pragmatic awareness through reading, direct observation of speech acts, data collection, discussion, evaluation of textbooks, and development of materials.  It is important for teachers to have a deep awareness of pragmatic and cultural issue, however, it is another story for teachers to know how to address this issue in class.

Furstenberg et al (2001) state that, in order for students to obtain cultural awareness, it is crucial to have ongoing dynamic process of negotiating meaning and understanding differences of perspective, rather than knowing a list of items. Erickson (1979) suggests that learners be encouraged to focus on the processes of interpretation rather than on the surface message form to acquire effective intercultural communication. As Schmidt (1993) points out, such cognitive awareness is ignored or unnoticed unless they are directly addressed.  Bouton (1999) also argues that non-native speakers can develop skills in interpreting conversational implications by explicit teaching that leads their inner processes of understanding implied meanings.  Communicative effectiveness and adaptation, which greatly deal with learnersf inner perspectives, should be addressed, at the right time[3], through such processes along with development of language competence and other aspects of the language. 

In order to promote such processes, many researchers have pointed out that it is important to see if there are differences between the first and second language in pragmatic usage (Thomas, 1983; Kasper & Blum-Kulka, 1993). Judd (1999) suggests teachers to lead studentsf cognitive awareness by presenting (naturally-occurring) examples of speech acts after teachers analyze the examples themselves.  It has to be, however, cautioned that students should not be simply given the teachersf analysis.  He also suggests an activity to have students obtain their own data on speech acts and have them observe native speakersf usage.  Galloway (1984) also suggests that:

- Teachers need to help students recognize and understand how people in a given culture typically behave in common, everyday situations. (Sociolinguists have found that native speakers have formulas or common framework/flow for dealing with common situations.)

- Students need to learn how to interpret behaviors that are different from their own without making judgments based on their own standards. 

- After they begin to expect cultural differences as natural and inevitable, students start to view other cultures more empathically.

- Cultural comprehension and adaptation can be best achieved by paying attention to the source of onefs information, examining onefs stereotypes, avoiding overgeneralizations, and learning about ways to resolve conflicts through experience-based simulations. 

 

Considering such previous research, in order to teach speech acts and lead students to improve communication effectiveness and adaptation skills, language teachers will need to (1) deepen their own awareness of pragmatic competence and culture (see Bardovi-Harling, 1992; Byram & Tost Planet, 2000 for examples), (2) collect naturally-occurring or near-naturally-occurring data[4], and (3) guide students to process interpretations and understand the meanings and difference/similarities by themselves.

After teachers deepen their awareness of the importance of pragmatic competence and culture, they will need authentic or near-authentic examples to analyze and use in the classroom, and then guide students to experience dynamic processes of understanding the perspectives of another language. 

Technology makes it easier for teachers to collect such data as well as to give learners a chance to experience such processes. 

 

 

 

3. Addressing Communication Effectiveness and Adaptation Factors: Application of ICC and Speech Acts Studies Using the WWW

 

3-1. Material

 

              I created a website where both Japanese people who are studying English in Japan and Japanese language learners in the US can post their solutions to given situations in their native language or the language used in the country they live.

              When a user goes to the index page of the website, s/he sees a page as in figure 1.  Japanese language learners in English-speaking countries choose gEnglish Siteh (figure 2) and the Japanese people who are studying English choose gJapanese Site.h  The listed situations are categorized into functions such as gasking favors,h ginviting,h gdeclining,h gapologizing,h and so forth, and each function has three or more specific situations which are varied in terms of relationship with the interlocutor, complexity of the situation, and so on.  The user can choose one of the situations, read and understand the situation that s/he chose, and post what s/he would say in the situation in their native language or the language used in the country they live.  When s/he posts his/her responses, s/he can include his/her nickname or real name, his/her gender, the country that s/he is most culturally involved with, and age range, so other users can analyze the responses from different perspectives.  After that, s/he can go to the corresponding page. 

 

 

(Figure 1) Index page

(Figure 2) English Site

 

              For example, letfs say that a Japanese language learner in the US chooses gTennis tomorrowh in gInvitingh of the gEnglish Siteh (figure 2).  S/he posts what s/he would say in the given situation (gA week ago, you talked with your friend and invited him/her to play tennis together with your other friends on this coming Saturday. The friend said s/he wants to come. It's Friday night, now. You called him/her to talk about tomorrowh) (figure 3).  S/he can then go to the corresponding Japanese page, which opens in a different window, where the Japanese people who are studying English posted responses/solutions to the same situation in Japanese, and compare the two (figure 4).  Japanese people who study English do the same thing in Japanese from the Japanese site. 

 

 

(Figure 3) Posting page (English)

                                                                                   

(Figure 4) Comparing Posting pages (Left window: Japanese, Right window: English)

 

              Students are not exposed to truly authentic data; however, as stated earlier, use of naturally-occurring data has limitations and other methods can lead better understanding of communication.  Although messages are simply posted on the web, as Byram & Tost Planet (2000) state, first-hand contact with speakers of the language being learned is important for learners to discover and analyze other peoples and their cultures. 

              In the next section, a small pilot study using this site is explained. 

                  

3-2. Study

 

3-2-1. Participants

 

              Twenty intermediate-level students of Japanese language in a university in the US participated in this study.  Of these 13 were Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 Welsh, 2 Taiwanese, 1 Chinese, 1 Filipino, and 1 Thai.  11 of them were female and 9 of them male.  They were between 19 and mid 30s in age.  Seven Japanese people who were born and had lived all their life in Japan participated in posting messages.  Three of them were female and four male.  They were between 24 and 30 years old. 

 

3-2-2. Method

 

There are four segments in the instructions: Preactivity (Day 1, class), Posting and Analysis 1 (Day 2, homework), Discussion (Day 3, class), and Analysis 2 (Day 4, homework). 

As a pre-activity, after watching part of a Japanese office drama where Japanese people interact in various situations, the Japanese language learners were asked in class if the Japanese people act or speak differently from English language speakers when they invite, decline, apologize, thank, or respond to compliments, and so on.  The learners discussed in groups what they have experienced, learned, or thought about such differences for a few minutes.  They reported what they talked about in these groups to the class.  Their comments include gJapanese are more polite,h gJapanese negate compliments,h gJapanese use a lot of implications,h gJapanese use incomplete sentences,h gEnglish is more direct,h etc.  The group and class discussions took about 15 minutes.  The learners were then introduced about the website while the instructor calls attention to the importance of understanding the ways Japanese people interact in common situations and cultural and pragmatic differences. 

They were then asked to post messages on the gTennis tomorrowh situation at home.  The situation is: gA week ago, you talked with your friend and invited him/her to play tennis together with your other friends on this coming Saturday. The friend said s/he wants to come. It's Friday night now. You called him/her to talk about tomorrow.h  (See Appendix A for the posted messages.)  The learners wrote their analysis of the differences and similarities between the messages on the English site and the Japanese site. 

They then brought their analyses (Analysis 1) to class to share them with other students, and had a group discussion in Japanese.  The learners reported what they noticed through the discussion to the class. Since most of the learnersf comments were about surface features of the language, the instructor helped the learners move their attention from surface features of the messages to inner perspectives of Japanese language speakers and a deeper interpretation of their speech while using their comments and reminding them of the importance of not making stereotypes and of being able to understand the Japanese peoplefs point of view in order to communicate effectively, and then drew their attention to differences in points of view between English and Japanese, the common framework/flow of the conversation, and so on.  It was also introduced how the Japanese people thought about the English responses, such as gThe way English speakers ask eDo you still want to come?f sounds a little surprising and rude,h though a few said git may be good because that way gives the interlocutor a chance to decline the invitation.h  The class reached to find the tendency that English focus is on the personfs feeling whereas Japanese focus is rather on the event and the difference in the framework/flow of the utterances (Japanese framework: greeting, self-identification, topic (event) presentation, confirmation (Do you remember? /Is it okay?), and closing.  English framework: greeting, asking if the person will come, giving information (with some jokes), and closing).  The learners were of course reminded that this is friend-friend conversation and the patterns observed may vary in different contexts.  The learners were also asked what they would say in English and what they thought Japanese people would respond in other settings, such as in responding to compliments on onefs clothes from a friend[5] (See Appendix B for the posted messages).  It was again repeated that the responses might vary in different settings, depending on who the interlocutor is or what is complimented on (ability, looks, etc.).  All instructions and discussions in class were done in the target language, Japanese.  The discussion and the instruction on this day took about 25 minutes. 

After this, the learners were asked to write their analysis again at home (Analysis 2).

 

3-2-3. Learnersf analyses

 

              Most of the learnersf first analyses focused on surface features of the language, such as types of pronouns (such as ore (I (male, casual)), casual contraction forms, the number of incomplete sentences, English usage of gcool,h ggreat,h gawesome,h gdude,h gman,h etc.  However, based on such language differences, there were some learners who interpreted the speech more deeply.  Half of the students pointed out that Japanese people often use gDaijoobu? (Okay?)h and gIi? (Good?)h to confirm a plan whereas English speakers use gDo you still want to.h  Half of them analyzed this difference further.  Here are examples.

 

1-1) gMost of the Japanese responses ask if the friend eremembersf their plan to play tennis while the English responses ask if the friend still ewantsf to play tennis.h

1-2) gthe Japanese people never referred to other personfs desires in their questions (e.g., they never asked gDo you want toch)h

1-3) gInterestingly, Japanese people always seem to make reference to the fact that the tennis game was a topic discussed before-hand, while a lot of times the English speaker assumed that the person knew what was being talked about and just said eare we up for tomorrow?fh

1-4) gIn Japanese the caller almost always reminded the person that they were calling about the invitation (Mae hanashita/ Konaida itteta tenisu (tennis that I mentioned before)) where in English it was common to leave out the subject (tennis).h

 

However, there were a few learners who did not find any differences between the two, and most of the learnersf analyses were, as stated earlier, about surface differences between the languages. 

 

In the second analyses, most of the learners indicated that they noticed things they had not noticed in the analyses they had done themselves through discussion with classmates. 

 

2-1) gI agreed very much with my classmates.  They reminded me many points I didnft see when doing my own analyses.  Indeed, Japanese speakers tend to begin by referring back to the last occasion when they talked about playing tennis while Americans usually go directly to plan about Saturday. ch

2-2) gAfter we analyzed Japanese and English forms of casual invitations in class, I realized I had missed a subtle distinction in focus between the two.  Previously, I had noticed that in both languages people tend to follow the same format in framing their invitations.  However, upon taking a closer look, I thought more about the distinctions in focus.  c in Japanese the focus remained on the event itself (tennis), whereas in English the focus shifts to the person.h

 

All the learners wrote about the results that the class reached, differences in frameworks and in focuses.  There were also many learners who paid attention to their inner thoughts and provided further analyses that did not come up in class. 

 

2-3) gI found our analysis fascinating because I discovered patterns in both English and Japanese that I subconsciously use without realizing it.  For example, it is interesting that while both groups of speakers start with a greeting, Japanese speakers do more self-identification than English speakers.  It is also fascinating that while it is polite in English to ask, eAre you still going?f doing so in Japanese would be rude.  Perhaps Japanese are less likely to break promises (change plans), or Americans are less likely to firmly commit to plans beforehand.  Also interestingly, the Japanese pattern is to first remind the listener about the tennis match, whereas many English speakers skip this part. ch

2-4) gc The eindirectnessf in Japanese also seems to be a result of the event-centered focus. ch

2-5) gc Americans talk about peoplefs feelings.  The reason why such a difference arises may be because it is considered rude for the Japanese people to ask directly about the personfs feeling. ch

2-6) gc It is important to know that the differences of social manners between different cultures. ch

2-7) gc unlike English speakers, Japanese donft repeat the request, only ask for confirmation (ooh, I should remember this for when I go) ch

2-8) gc While it is interesting to comment on the difference in approach or point of view in Japanese and English, beyond language, and structure, these differences probe deeper into cultural identities, etc.h

 

3-2-4. Discussion

 

              As pointed out in Schmidt (1993), explicit instruction in comparison of speech acts in class facilitates cognitive awareness of cultural aspects of language and the culture.  I will now examine how the learnersf responses relate to the stress-handling factors of ICC competence, communication effectiveness and (early phases of) adaptation. 

Communication effectiveness, again, requires learners to know how people in the host culture communicate and to understand and/or use this information. 

In this activity, the learners were able to analyze how the Japanese people conduct speech acts in specific contexts.  The learners analyzed what the typical way is to communicate in such situations not from teachersf listing of knowledge but from the learnersf own analyses based on the several examples, which are directly posted by the Japanese people in Japan.  With their own analyses and class discussion, the learners noticed differences in the flow of the conversation, in typical expressions used, or in how previous promises and peoplefs current desires are treated, which are important to effectively communicate in such situations. 

As for adaptation factor, as stated earlier, learners can be guided to experience early phases of adaptation by discovering target-language speakersf point of view, questioning the values and presuppositions of their own culture, and creating positive attitudes to other cultures and readiness to experience different stages of adaptation.  Galloway also states that adaptation can be best achieved by paying attention to the source of onefs information, examining onefs stereotypes, avoiding overgeneralizations, and learning about ways to resolve conflicts through experience-based simulations. 

All the learners explicitly mentioned the Japanese peoplefs point of view, although, of course, there were differences in the degree of empathy and the depth of the analyses.  However, differences between the first and second analyses indicate that this activity and previous knowledge of the language and culture led learnersf attention to perspectives of the people in the other culture.  Some comments from the learners show that they further proceeded into different phases of adaptation by analyzing what is behind the utterances and the points of view, as seen in gPerhaps Japanese are less likely to break promises (change plans), or Americans are less likely to firmly commit to plans beforehand. (2-3),h g(It may be) considered rude for the Japanese people to ask directly about the personfs feeling. (2-4),h or gThe eindirectnessf in Japanese also seems to be a result of the event-centered focus. (2-5).h  Such processes are particularly important since they are viewing the target culture and their own culture objectively, seeking other perspectives, questioning their presuppositions in their own environment, and experimenting if their analyses stand.  Such processes create readiness to experience different stages of otherness when living in the target culture (Byram, 1997).  Some comments such as gooh, I should remember this for when I go. (2-7)h also show that the learner is trying to learn about ways to avoid conflict through this analysis. 

There were learners who also paid attention to their inner thoughts, as seen in excerpts such as gI discovered patterns in both English and Japanese that I subconsciously use without realizing it. (2-3),h gthese differences probe deeper into cultural identities, etc. (2-8),h gIt is important to know that the differences of social manners between different cultures. (2-6).h 

It is also crucial to avoid stereotypes and overgeneralization.  The fact that the Japanese people accepted compliments in the particular situation surprised many of the learners.  Learners should be exposed to many responses from different speakers in various situations so that learners can learn them by themselves with teachersf guidance, improve communicative effectiveness, and deepen their view of the target language and the culture, and also so that teachers can avoid leading learnersf into making stereotypes.

 

 

3-3. Further Application

 

              Needless to say, this study is only a beginning.  As Cohen (1996) states, it is important for learners to be given a chance to compare speech acts in a variety of contexts, carefully considering similarities and differences.  Learners need to examine more cases. 

It is also possible to have learners post how they would gwrite (email, letter, fax, etc.)h in various situations.  Although it has limitations, it would be possible in the future to have learners provide audio files of utterances instead of typing them so that they can observe the tones and pauses of othersf utterances. 

              Learners can not only analyze data by themselves with their teachersf guidance, but learners on both sides can discuss the topic on BBS or through a variety of media, such as internet conference, chat room, email, etc.  Byram (1993) states that the development of insight into the foreign culture and positive attitudes toward foreign people must be integrated with development of communicative competence and an awareness of the nature of language and language learning. As quoted earlier, first-hand contact with speakers of the language being learned is important to discover and analyze other peoples and their cultures (Bryam & Tost Planet, 2000).  Robinson-Stuart & Nocon (1996) also present the results of a classroom study and claim that learners can develop positive attitudes toward the cultural perspective of members of different speech communities as a result of an instructional program that brings learners into meaningful interaction with members of the second culture.  In order to promote such interaction for learners living outside of the target-language community, technology can be of help. 

              Judd (1999) states that learners need to produce speech acts as well.  Learners can also do productive activities.  Japanese people learning English can post their responses in English and Japanese language learners in the US, for example, can post them in Japanese, and have discussion afterwards.

Although in the current material users can see only verbal differences in written text, teachers can also address to issue of lifestyle in the target culture, which strongly relate to ways of communication.  Indeed, a learner commented on another situation (You live by yourself. You caught a bad cold, but you have neither cold medicine nor food at home. You want your close friend to buy and bring some medicine and food for you. You call his/her cell phone. How do you ask him/her?), saying gIn Japan, I think it is easier to ask someone to buy you food because of all of the ready-made (and fairly healthy) gbentoh available at convenience stores.  Personally, I donft really want to be eating most American fast-food when I am sick.  This makes it difficult to ask someone to epick me up some foodf.h 

               

 

4. Conclusion and Future Tasks

 

This study showed some possibilities for instruction to promote awareness in stress-handling factors, communication effectiveness and adaptation, in order to increase ICC competence to some extent.  However, needless to say, not all students showed such awareness in depth through this short instruction and the further instruction needs to be given.  Nonetheless, such aspects of competence should be integrated into language instruction especially for learners who hope to live in the target-language community.  As stated earlier, it must not be misunderstood that such instruction enables learners to acquire another culturefs concepts, values, and behavior.  However, through such explicit instruction and WWW materials, it is possible for instruction, even outside of the country where the target language is used, to address this difficult area of language teaching and to develop learnersf awareness toward intercultural communication. 

It should also be noted that in order to conduct such instruction, teachers have to be well-aware of what intercultural communication competence is.  A teachersf manual needs to be created.  How to present the situations is also a crucial consideration.  Billmyer & Varghese (2000) point out that details of given situations did affect the length of the responses although they did not affect strategy or the amount of internal modification.  This issue should be treated seriously in order to present the best possible materials for learners to develop ICC competence. 

This project will be expanded so any Japanese and English teachers around the world can use the materials in class.  Posted messages will also be available for language teachers and for future sociolinguistic studies. 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Bardovi-Harlig, K. (1992). Pragmatics as part of teacher education. TESOL Journal, 1, 28-32.

Billimyer, K. & Varghese, M. (2000) Investigating instrument-based pragmatic variability: Effects of enhancing discourse completion tests. Applied Linguistics, 21(4), 517-552.

Bouton, L. (1999). Developing nonnative speaker skills in interpreting conversational implicatures in English –Explicit teaching can ease the process. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Culture in Second Language Teaching and Learning (pp. 47-70). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Byram, M. (1993). Criteria for textbook evaluation.  In M. Byram (Ed.), Germany, its representation in textbooks for teaching German in Great Britain (pp. 87-101). Frankfurt am main: Diesterweg.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence.  Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Byram, M., & Tost Planet, M. (Eds.). (2000). Social identity and the European dimension: Intercultural competence through foreign language learning.  Strasbourg Cedex: Council of Europe Publishing.

Byram, M., Nichols, A., & Stevens, D. (Eds.). (2001). Developing intercultural competence in practice.  Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Chick, K. (1996). Intercultural communication. In S. McKay & N. Hornberger (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching (pp. 329-348). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cohen, A. (1996). Speech Act. In S. McKay & N. Hornberger (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching (pp. 383-420). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crandall, J. (1994). Content-Centered Language Learning.

retrieved in March, 2003 from http://www.cal.org/ericcll/digest/cranda01.html

Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Erickson, F. (1979). Talking down: Some cultural sources of miscommunication in interracial interviews.  In A. Wolfgang (Ed.), Non-verbal behavior (pp.99-126). New York: Academic Press.

Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., English, K. & Maillet, K. (2001). Giving a virtual voice to the silent language of culture: the cultura project. Language Learning & Technology, 5, 55-102.

Galloway, V. (1984). Communicating in a cultural context. In ACTFL Master lecture series. Monterey, CA: Defense language institute.

Hadley, A. (1993). Teaching Language in Context.  Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

Hobbs, P. (2003). The medium is the message: politeness strategies in menfs and womenfs voice mail messages. Journal of Pragmatics, 35, 243-262.

Hornberger, N. (1993). Review of Cultural communication and intercultural contact.  In D. Carbaugh (Ed.), Language in Society, 22, 300-304.

Judd, E. (1999). Some issues in the teaching of pragmatic competence. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Culture in Second Language Teaching and Learning (pp. 152-166). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kasper, G., & Blum-Kulka, S. (Eds.). (1993). Interlanguage pragmatics.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Krashen, S. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Oxford: Pergmon.

Kordes, H. (1991). Intercultural learning at school: Limits and possibilities.  In D. Buttjes & M. Byram (Eds.), Mediating languages and cultures: Towards and intercultural theory of foreign language education (pp. 287-305).  Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Lantolf, J. (1999). Second culture acquisition –cognitive considerations. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Culture in Second Language Teaching and Learning (pp. 28-46). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Manes, J., & Wolfson, N. (1981). The compliment formula. In F. Coulmas (Ed.) Conversational Routine: Explorations in standardized communication situations and prepatterned speech.  The Hauge: Mouton.

Maruyama, A. (1996). Otoko to onna to home. Nihongogaku, 15, 68-80.

Matsumoto, Y., Shimizu, T., Okano, H., & Kubo, M. (Forthcoming). Kizuki to sentaku –Shakaigengogakuteki nouryoku no yousei o mezasu nihongo kyouiku no igi. In Gengogaku to nihongo kyouiku 3.  Tokyo: Kuroshio.

Nishida, H. (1985). Japanese intercultural communication competence and cross-cultural adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 9, 247-269.

Patrikis, P. (1988). Language and culture at the crossroads. In A. Singerman (Ed.), Toward a new integration of language and culture. Middlebury, VT: Northeast conference, 1988.

Redmond, M. (2000). Cultural distance as a mediating factor between stress and intercultural communication competence.  International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24, 151-159.

Redmond, M. & Bunyi, J. (1993). The relationship of intercultural communication competence with stress and the handling of stress as reported by international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 17, 235-254.

Robinson-Stuart, G., & Nocon, H. (1996). Second culture acquisition: Ethnography in the foreign language classroom. Modern Language Journal, 80, 431-449. 

Schmidt, R. (1993). Conscious learning and interlanguage pragmatics. In G. Kasper & S. Blum-Kulka (Eds.), Interlanguage pragmatics (pp. 21-42). New York: Oxford University Press.

Thomas, J. (1983). Cross-cultural pragmatic failure.  Applied Linguistics, 4 (1), 91-112.

Wiseman, R. (2002). Intercultural Communication Competence.  In W. Gudykunst & B. Mody (Eds.), Handbook of international and intercultural communication second edition (pp.207-224). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Wolfson, N. (1992). Intercultural communication and the analysis of conversation. In R. K. Herbert (Ed.), Language and society in Africa (pp. 197-214). Johannesburg: University of the Witwaterstrand Press. 

 

 

 

Appendix A

 

(   ) is direct word-to-word translation

Japanese excerpts

1.        Female, Japan, 20s: Moshi moshi?  Watashi.  Ashita no koto de denwa shitan dakedo (interlocutor: un un) Dooshiyokka?  (Hello?  Itfs me.  I called to talk about tomorrow, but (interlocutor: yeah yeah) How should be do?)

2.        Male, Japan (Kobe), 20s: Moshi moshi.  Otsukaree.  Anna, konaida itteta tenisu no koto yakedo, ashita Oji ni OO de shuugoo suru kedo, daijoobu?  Hona, mata ashita naa.  (Hello.  Good work?  Um, itfs about the tennis that I talked about the other day but, we are going to gather at OO at O ofclock tomorrow but, is it okay?  Well then, tomorrow.)

3.        Male, Japan, 20s: Moshi moshi, ore dakedo.  Konomae hanashita tenisu no ken, oboeteru?  Ashita ikeru?  Jaa ashita mukaeniiku yo.  Mata ashita deru mae ni denwa suru.  (Hello, itfs me (but).  Do you remember the tennis thing that I talked about the other day?  Can you go tomorrow?  Then I will go pick you up tomorrow.  I will call again before I leave tomorrow.)

4.        Male, Japan, 20s: Ou, ore.  Anoo ashita no tenisu no ken dakedo, ~ji kara ~de suru koto ni natta kara.  (Hey, itfs me.  Itfs about the tennis thing tomorrow but, wefll do that at ~ from ~ ofclock, so.)

5.        Male, Japan (Osaka), 20s: Moshi moshi? Aa ore yakedo.  Ano, oboeteru?  Ashita tenisu yade.  ~ji ni ~de yaru kedo daijoubu?  Un, hona mata ashita na.  (Hello?  Oh, itfs me (but).  Um, do you remember?  Tennis tomorrow.  Wefll meet at ~ at ~ ofclock, but is it okay?  Okay, then tomorrow.)

6.        Female, Japan (Hiroshima), 20s: Konbanwa.  Anonee ashita tenisu nano, oboeteru?  Uchi no tomodachi mo kuru n dakedo ii?  Raketto toka wasurenaide nee.  (Good evening.  Umm, do you remember about tennis tomorrow?  My friends are coming as well, but is it okay?  Donft forget your racquet.)

7.        Female, Japan, 30s: Senshuu hanashita tenisu no ken nandakedo, hokano tomodachi ashita ii tte.  Socchi mo daijoobu kana?  (Itfs about tennis thing that I talked about last week, but my other friends said tomorrow is good.  Is it okay there as well?)

 

English excerpts

1.        Female, USA, 20s: Wanted to see if we were still on for tomorrow?  No worries if you cannotc

2.        Male, USA, 10s: Whatfs up man? c Cool, cool, Yeah, not too much going on herec Yeah, well, I was just calling to see if youfre still up for tennis tomorrowc Great, wefre meeting at 1 at the courtsc You need a ride?c OK, then Ifll just see you there.

3.        Female, ?, 20s: Are you still up for tennis tomorrow?  John and Bill are coming too, so letfs meet around 10pm at the courts.  Do you know where they are?  Cool, see you then. 

4.        Male, USA, 10s: Hi, Tom, I was just wondering if you still wanted to play tennis tomorrow.  If so, letfs meet up at the courts at around 11.  Sound good?  See you tomorrow!

5.        Male, USA, 30s: Hey bud, you still up for some tennis tomorrow?  Those guysfll be by here at about 9:30.  You want to meet us here or what?  Okay, see you at the courts at about 10 then.  No, you donft need to wear those little pompom socks.  Alright, see you tomorrow. 

6.        Female, ?, 20s: Hey, Lingling, do you still want to go to play tennis with us tomorrow morning?  There are three more of my friends coming, two guys and one girl from BU.  If you still want to, letfs meet at the courts around 10pm.  See you then. 

7.        Female, USA, 10s: Hi hi!  I was calling to see if wefre still on for tomorrow [wait for answer] Cool.  Do you want to meet at 10 then? [wait for answer] Great, Ifll see you tomorrow!

8.        Female, USA, 20s: Hey, I was just calling to make sure you were still up for tennis tomorrowc Youfre good to go?  Great.  How about we meet at the courts around noon?  Okay.  See you thenc

9.        Male, China, 30s: Hi, I am calling you to check if you still wanna go for tennis with us tomorrow, could you please give me a confirmation?  Hope you can come. 

10.     Male, USA, 20s: Hey, just calling to make sure you were still up for tomorrowc let me know. 

11.     Male, USA, 10s: Hey, whatfs up?  You still want to play tennis tomorrow?  Cool, Ifll see you at 3.  See you.

12.     Female, USA, 20s: Hey, whatfs up?  Just wanted to check, are you still up for tennis tomorrow? c Ok, cool.  Okay, wefre going to meet at 1:00 then, okay?  Okay, see  you then! Okay, byebye!

13.     Female, USA, 20s: Hey!  Whatfs up?  I just wanted to make sure you are still up for tennis tomorrow with me and the rest of the gang J c(answer)c K, awesome!  Wefre gonna meet in front of ABP around 1 and then head over to the courts together, so Ifll see you there, k?  Canft wait!  See you tomorrow! c

14.     Female, Wales, 20s: Hey loser – you still coming then?  Tennis tomorrow, remember?  You lazy git!  Seriously?  Well, if you change your mind then wefll be over the river from about 11 or so.  See ya!

15.     Male, Taiwan, 20s: Hi, just want to make sure of our plan for tomorrow.  Do come and letfs have fun together!

16.     Male, USA, 20s: Hey, just wanted to make sure that we are still on for tennis tomorrow.  Sound good?  See you then!

17.     Male, USA, 20s: Dude, I just called to ask if you still want to play some tennis tomorrow.  A few friends of mine are going to be at the St. Paul Clay courts tomorrow at 8.  We are planning some breakfast after that. 

18.     Female, USA, 20s: Hi, whatfs up?  Do you still wanna join us tomorrow?

19.     Male, USA, 30s: Hey, are we still on for tennis tomorrow? [pause for answer] Yeah, Mike is coming too.  [short pause] Great!  Everyone is going to meet at Kendall square at 10:00, and go to the courts from there.  That would be the indoor courtsc unless you want try out your snowshoes.  Hahaha. [awkward silence] So you have my cell, right?

20.     Male, USA, 30s: Hi, just calling to see if we are still on for tomorrow.

 

Appendix B

 

Your friend looked at your shirt and said gI like your shirt.h

1.        Male, Japan, 20s: A, honto?  Ore mo ki ni itten dayoo.  (Oh, really?  I like this too.)

2.        Female, Japan, 20s: Honto? OO de katta noo.  Takakattan dayoo.  Kawaii deshoo. (^o^) (Really?  I bought this at OO.  It was expensive.  Isnft it cute?)

3.        Female, Japan, 30s: Soo?  Arigatou.  OO de katta noo. (Do you think so?  Thank you.  I bought this at OO.)

 



W This project will be funded by the e-Japan grant from the Japanese government from April 2003 for further development. 

[1] Speech acts as illocutionary acts or interpersonal functions, such as complimenting, asking, thanking, apologizing, etc.

[2] Judd (1999, p.164) claims that gstudents often believe –and this may be partially the fault of teachers and textbooks – that there is only one way for a speech act to appear and that this form works in all situations.h  Matsumoto et al. (Forthcoming) also point out that this leads stereotypes and limits studentsf expression of themselves.

[3] Byram & Tost Planet (2000, p.12) state that instruction for ICC competence is particularly important after learners have acquired a sound basic knowledge of a foreign language, have passed through adolescence, and are ready to develop their faculties of analysis and critical reflection. 

[4] Billmyer and Varghese (2000) state that, though many researchers insist importance of use of naturally-occurring examples, it is very difficult to rely on this method both in research and in classroom.  They claim that discourse completion test (DCT), for example, can lead a better understanding of authentic communication. 

[5] Although it was friendfs compliments for the shirt that the recipient of the compliment was wearing, many of the learners assumed that the Japanese people would decline the compliments saying gno, no,h which was not usually the case.  (See footnote 3, Judd (1999))