Whither inter-cultural communication in Australia?

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Whither ICC in Australia?
Michael Clyne
Monash University/University of
Melbourne
www.monash.edu.au
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Drawing from a past project to show the potential of ICC
research in Australia.
Jennifer listen you now and all you people here
You know how much we need the soldering we desperately
need soldering to do Peterson’s or to do any er job on soldering
in the area.
From now on I don’t want to see anybody who is competent
with solder to do the cleaning
It is only then that the focal point of the complaint sequence,
the accusation, is introduced – indirectly I don’t understand why every ten or twenty minutes people who
are nominated to clean those boards alright are off from the
job… I don’t understand the one things how peoples are not
ashamed to sit here doing nothing
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Keep it under control look nominate people.
I know it’s er not ah it’s not easy job but..
We need output
I We can’t do that
And people are here sitting doing nothing.
What’s the reason. (3x)
I would like to see what’s the reason
Is there any reason for that tell me
Yeah I would like to have a reason
Jennifer: You want a reason
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Frustration of Chinese women
• Cen European cultures – unpleasant
speech acts (complaints, directives)
• Watered down by apologies,
explanations,
• Mingling speech acts in complex
sequences and lengthening monologue
• SEAsian – get it over and done with
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• Jennifer equally frustrated with Polish
subordinate Krystyna – apology for work
mistake
• 1. Admission of guilt
• It was probably my fault alright
• 2. Doubts about guilt
• I don’t know whose fault but I take my I
blame myself for it
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• 3. Explanation of ‘what went wrong’
• 4. Anxiety about the reactions of another
worker
• 5. Appeal for compassion
• 6. Assurance that delay in reporting
matter to Jennifer is not the result of
antipathy
• 7. Seeking reassurance
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Jennifer’s responses:
(a) Don’t worry (Multiple)
(b) I understand these things
(c) these things happen
(d) forget it
(e) diversion: Is your husband back back from
Atlantic
• (f) Advice: take it as it comes
• (g) I fix up for you – patronage, absolution
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• Inge (German subordinate) challenges
Slobodan’s accusation
• Understood schema being used
• Educative value of CC breakdown
• Neil – collaborative discourse of hospital
cleaners
• Melb – contact: Serbs, Somalis, Afghans,
Tamils, Greeks, Vietnamese –
workplaces. housing estates, shopping
centres
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Dominant belief – Anglos BUT ELF
Microcosm
Business/education – Research
SE suburbs – most use of community
languages/20, 16, 12 langs over 1000
speakers/ICC
• ICC – international LASC area – still
important
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• Contrastive approach – comparing native
discourse across langs.
• INCL Wierzbicka/Goddard – Cultural scripts;
Sharifian - schemas
• Interlanguage - Comparing discourse of L2
learners with L1 or L2 from different language
backgrounds. (House and Kasper 1994)
• Interactional intercultural approach –
spontaneous communication in lingua franca.
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• 2 significant features of ICC in workplace
project:
• Post-survival communication
• Focus on pragmatic/discourse level
• Adult migrants from
• Central and southern Europe, S America, SE, S
or W Asia or Middle East
• 4 industrial, 2 non-industrial research sites,
• Different parts of Melb.
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• Total 182 hrs of recordings (mostly
spontaneous speech, 23 hrs meetings)
• Radio microphone
• 1. Directives, complaints/whinges,
commissives, some apologies)
• C, S Eur – speech act cycles for unpleasant
speech acts
• Directives – Eur men, apologies – Eurs,
commissives – SE women,
• complaints – S As men.
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• 2. Small talk varies cross-culturally and may be
hard to recognize as such.
• Annemarie (Austrian), Thuy (Vietnamese):
• A: You have five days off now – what will you
do?
• T: (Silence)
Why? What do you
want?
• Misunderstood as being laid off.
• A’s view: ‘When the Italians and Greeks came,
we knew exactly what they meant. This doesn’t
happen with the Asians’.
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• Grice’s Cooperative Principle:
• Maxim of quality:
• Do not make your contribution more
informative than is required. (Cf contentoriented cultures of Europe, SEAsia)
• Truth: Do not say what you believe to be
false (Cf Harmony oriented SE Asia)
• Manner: Avoid ambiguity (Viet to Aus)
• Be brief (Eur, S Asia)
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• Revision to make the maxims more open
to ICC, eg
• Make your contribution as informative as
required for the purpose of the
discourse, within the bounds of the
discourse parameters of the given
culture.
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Variation in cultural styles
• Cultural variation in turn taking
procedures, length of turns
• Style A – overlapping speech
• Style B – repetitions, rhythmical
rhetorical patterns
• If I put you on the cleaning you can
clean, …glueing.., stapling…clipping
• Style C – not interruptions
• East vs West challenged
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Table 4.9 Communicative Styles
Style A
Relatively long turns with
downtoners and
explanations and ‘apparent
disclaimers’, increase in
speed and volume in order
to maintain and
appropriate turns,
simultaneous speech,
mixture of positive and
negative politeness.
Style B
Relatively long turns
(except in particular work
situations), much
repetition, rhetorical
parallelism, bureaucratic
style, increase in speed and
volume in order to
maintain turns but
decrease in speed to
appropriate them, positive
politeness.
Style C
Relatively short turns,
turn maintenance and
appropriation attempted
by elongation of words, a
decrease in speed, rising
intonation, and repetition,
negative politeness
expressed particularly
through deferential speech,
compliant with anticipated
expectations (including
commissives).
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• Style A – esp continental Eur (Non-Anglo)
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B – S, (?) W Asian
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C – SE Eur
• Some cultures more complete users of a style
than others
• (Croatians < Hungs, Poles< Austrians<
Germans
• Filipinos share Styles A and C
• Malays, Indonesians peripheral to C and Mid E?
•
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Successful communication
• Present messages in as non-culturally
specific way as possible
• Keep control of exchanges, limiting
interactions to their intended goal
• Aware of their own and interlocutors’
expectations of communication.
• Know which questions to ask to resolve
potential communication breakdown.
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Success in inter-cultural communication
1. Successful communication
2. Unsuccessful
3. Resolved unsuccessful communication
4. Unresolvable unsuccessful
communication
5. Unsuccessful communication –
resolution not attempted
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• SE Asians disadvantaged – unlikely to answer
back
• Where they receive apologies, tend to be face
threatening
• Do better in office environment than factory
floor (Social distance greater)
• Expectations of being outtalked in video
experiment (Dialogues acted out)
• Disadvantage of SE Asians mitigated by some
similarities with Anglo style
• Those from peripheral cultural styles best
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Education
• VIT recognition of importance of ICC
• Inter-cultural communication should
form an essential part of teacher training
• Internships in linguistics courses
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• Industry so far relatively uninterested in
using findings
• SBS series and Fitzgerald – What makes
us different?
• Meetings
• 1. More groups (Anglos, W As, Afr)
• 2. Situations
• 3. Online
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• Australia networked into global context
• Email opportunities for research - Address
• 47 email sequences – editorial assistants, O/S
colleagues, grad students
• 4 patterns of reducing social distance by moving from Vlike (hon/title + LN) to T-like (FN):
• 1. Immediate, complete switch
• 2. Switch 1 round later, to ensure switch is intentional
• 3. Transitional switch via intermediate mode (FN + LN) –
normal Eng
• 4. Switch not accommodated to (not cult. approp.)
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• Eg Arab in Vienna – Dear Dr Clyne/sir x6)
(Swiss V-like 4 yrs, Austrian in SwedenSehr geehrter Herr (Professor) Clyne,
Dutchman in Norway – Geachte Heer
Clyne (reversion)
• Successful switch mainly :. Obstinate
efforts of T initiator (usually L1 Eng
spkr.)
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Smooth transition in 3 rounds:
Interlocutor: Dutch speaking Belgian:
Dear Professor Clyne
(transit) Beste FN + LN – V – (sgd) FN
(transit) Beste Professor Clyne, beste Michael - V – (sgd)
FN
Beste FN – T – FN
(sgd) becomes a self-introduction.
Hi Professor Michael Clyne, FN + LN
FN (greet) FN (sgd)
As above
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Unusually rapid switch:
Hon + LN (sgd) FN
FN (sgd) FN
FN – T
FN
(Australian influence)
Dear Mr Clyne
(sgd) FN + LN
Rept
Beste collega FN + LN (SW)
Beste collega FN
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Hon + LN
FN FN
Hon + LN
FN + LN
Hej FN (SW)
FN
Hej FN T
Problems Mr, Mrs
Interactional ICC studies much potential and
valuefor Australia, perhaps eventually research
with international teams.
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