A Study Of Cross Cultural Pragmatic Failure

2122 words - 8 pages

Cross-cultural communication means communication between people from different cultures. We use the term cross-cultural communication instead of intercultural communication because it is too restrictive. This term implies a comparison between cultures (for example, different styles of leadership). More precisely, cross-cultural communication is communication between people whose cultural perceptions and symbol systems are distinct enough to alter the communication event. The labels race, ethnic groups, and co-cultural communication are three forms of cross-cultural communication. The learners of foreign languages have to study cross-cultural communication becausea) We are living in a changing world. Changes in technology, travel, economic and politics, immigration patterns are so great that we have to increasingly communicate with people from different cultures. The cross-cultural communication will continue to grow in both frequency and intensity.b) Diverse cultural backgrounds influence communication in many ways: one's cultural backgrounds and experiences help shape how one sends and receives messages.c) Linguistic studies in the field of pragmatics have reminded us awareness of the degree to which cross-cultural communication is affected by culturally related factors.d) Nonverbal communication such as gesture, posture, and facial expression is of great importance. Nonverbal elements are proved to be the most culturally influenced part of behavior.2.0 Pragmatic Failure in Cross-Cultural Communication2.0.1 Pragmatic FailurePragmatic failure was first proposed by Thomas (1983:9) to refer to the inability to understand what is meant by what is said. In cross-cultural communication people form different cultural backgrounds speak the same language, but their communication may break down due to pragmatic differences in ways of thinking, rules of speaking, social values, educational backgrounds, lexical connotations and other factors. The term cultural mistakes used by Hu Wenzhong (1985) to refer to language and behavior that is inappropriate or unacceptable to most native speakers, and he considers that cultural mistakes are often worse than linguistic ones and likely to create ill feeling between native speakers and Chinese speakers of English. As Thomas points out, "... speaker who is not operating according to the standard grammatical code is at worst condemned as 'speaking badly', the person who operates according to different formulated pragmatic principles may well be censured as behaving badly; as being an untruthful, deceitful, or insincere person" (1983:107).The language learners should know not only the formal rules, but also the rules of use, that is, the pragmatic principles and sociopragmatic conventions. Only in this way can they make efficient communication and have a correct understanding of each other. In the past a few decades there has been a research in the study of pragmatic failure. A study of the nature and causes of...

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