Pragmatic infelicities in intercultural communication: A proposed role for digital technologies

Prof. Georgios S. Ypsilandis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract: The relationship between language and culture has been suggested and abundantly discussed since the early 70s. This issue has been particularly explored in various empirical and experimental studies within the area of intercultural discourse and has been thereon well documented in various analyses investigating pragmalinguistic failure. These linguistic pitfalls have been mostly justified and explained through the language transfer hypothesis, in that L1 conventions are inappropriately and unsuitably transferred from the L1 to the L2. Other hypotheses are also suggested for investigation. This talk initially presents the topic, with examples from various studies of a wide array of different L1s, and concentrates on the issue of teaching intercultural communication. Various questions are raised and discussed, across a scale of opposite poles (the world's largest and most influential to less commonly taught languages, teach/not teach, explicit/implicit), that would help the language teacher find his own answers to tackle the problem. Finally, a teaching proposal involving digital technologies is presented.



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