Friday, April 5, 2013

Week#5 - The Relationship between Language & Culture

Core Question
What are the linguistic components of English and other languages that are necessary to understand in order to successfully engage in cross-cultural communication? How does one be ‘polite’ in English and other languages?

Culturally Speaking: Culture, Communication, & Politeness Theory (Chapters 2~5 are especially relevant - skim for parts that most interest you, if at all)

Being Polite in English

Politeness Exercises

Sample Chapters of 'Human Communication'


Discussion Questions
In general, Do you think language affects the way we conceptualize the world? How much do you think the characteristics of your L1 affects your thought processes and view of the world?

Has learning a second language affected the way you conceptualize the world?
Do you express yourself or think differently when speaking in your second language?

Do you 'feel' different when you speak English? If yes, how so?
How is speaking to your classmates in English different from speaking to them in Korean (substantively and affectively) ?

Have you ever been bothered or confused by someone’s voice qualities and/or vocalizations?
If so, was it a cultural issue or a personal one?

Can you think of examples of how the aspects of the language/culture relationship listed below affect how people speak in your L1 or L2? Have differences resulted in L2 speaking challenges for you?

Which aspects of ‘unconventional language’ have been most challenging to use as a learner or teach as an educator?

How aware have you been of the implications of the English syntax when speaking? Which are the most challenging to use appropriately?

How comfortable are you in using upgraders/downgraders and finding the appropriate level of directness when communicating in English or another L2? Describe any ‘communication challenges’ you’ve experienced as a result of imperfect usage or understanding?

Which cultural aspects of English (if any) do you think are most important to teach?


  • Read through some of the material listed under Week#6 of the Course Materials page.  Feel free to find other material you find that  addresses the core questions for next week
    (How do Koreans see their own culture, communication styles, etc? How do non-Koreans see Korea and Koreans? How do other specific cultures (and subcultures) see their own cultures? ) 
    Remember to document your material consumption.
  • Post your at least one reflection on your blog that addresses Week#5 Discussions, Week#6 topics, or anything else CCC related that has grabbed your attention lately.  Please post reflections  by Thursday at 5pm
  • Check out your classmates' blog posts by clicking on the 'Blog Posts' block on the right or going here.

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