Intercultural Communication

You are here

Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Intercultural Communication
Terms offered: 
Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

None

Additional student cost: 
  • The field-trip to Budapest is optional and although IES contributes to the expenses with approximately 30 EUROs, about 60 EUROs for lodging, food etc. can be expected if one travels to Budapest for a weekend.
Description: 

We often feel that we are misunderstood or that we cannot express ourselves properly, yet we also have the impression that, especially in everyday matters, we get along pretty successfully; we also know that e.g. a good poem expresses far more than it actually says. So, how is it with human communication, with meaning (both with what we mean and what sentences do), especially if people of diverse cultures interact? Do we say less, or more than we intend? The course will explore this problem. We will begin by examining various levels of communication as subjects of academic study in the 20th and 21st century: we will start with the meaning of the sentence, then we shall study speech-acts, discourse (text), and sign-language. Moving from text to context, we will interpret culture as the largest context against the background of which meaning may unfold in the richest possible way. We will use Austrian, Hungarian and American phenomena as test-cases to study the various cultures of school and games, of everyday matters (eating, drinking, socialising), of home, of basic human relationships (family, friendship, partnership), and, finally, the problem of the media, including the Internet, all these from a historical, sociological and psychological point of view. The course is designed to help students develop their cultural awareness, as well as their communicative skills.

SCOPE OF THE COURSE: Intercultural communication, studying, broadly speaking, how people understand one another within and between various traditions they have inherited, is a relatively new and interdisciplinary branch of study both in the US and in Europe. Courses designed to teach it will concentrate, as it were, on either word of the title: they either put the intercultural aspect into focus, and include (comparative) anthropology, (comparative) intellectual history, (comparative) history of the fine arts, music, literature and even the sciences and examine how people communicate with these, or they aim at studying first and foremost the communicative side. Courses of the latter type will favour a basically applied linguistic approach, involving socio-linguistics (the description of various sociolects, i.e. how various social groups, e.g. students use language), psycho-linguistics, especially the problem of language-acquisition, secondary language-learning, the differences between grammatical (syntactic and semantic) competence and communicative competence, cognitive linguistics, even some aspects of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of the mind (reference, the relationship between thinking and language, how language may influence thinking, etc.). The differences in approach may also lie in either first seeking larger, more ‘universal’ patterns of cultural behaviour and then try to find how these are manifested in various concrete cultures (this is a more ‘deductive’ way of handling problems), or the approach is more ‘inductive’ and starts with relatively detailed descriptions of specific cultures and then generalises from these data.

This course will be ‘deductive’ in structure. It will start with a basically linguistic approach and will gradually enrich it with the intercultural analysis of topics involving human everydayness, our exposure to the media, our basic human relationships, games, school etc., using phenomena as test cases from three cultures: Austrian culture (to which students will be exposed while in Vienna); American culture (very diverse in itself but the culture of the students’ own) and Hungarian culture (where the instructor comes from, in many ways different from either American or West-European cultures).

Attendance policy: 

IES Abroad Vienna requires attendance at all class sessions, including field study excursions, internship meetings, scheduled rehearsals, and exams. Attendance will be monitored and unexcused absences will affect the student’s grade via the “Participation” component of each course’s final grade.

Excused Absences

  • Excused absences are permitted only when a student is ill, when class is held on a recognized religious holiday traditionally observed by the particular student, or in the case of a grave incident affecting family members.
  • To be granted an excused absence, the student must write an email to his/her professor in a timely manner stating the reason for the absence (and, if appropriate, how long they expect to be away) with a cc to Center administrative staff. In an emergency, the student may call Student Services or the Front Desk. If the student is unable to send an email (too sick, no computer), he/she may call the Student Assistant at the front desk (01/512 2601-11) who will then write the email described above and send it to said parties as stated above, with a cc to the student.
  • If a student is absent 3 consecutive days or more, he/she will need to obtain a doctor’s note and then submit this to the Registrar’s office.
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm - 30%
  • Final - 50%
  • Class participation and journal entries - 20%
  • Required reading
  • Occasionally a "Quiz" at the beginning of a class to check familiarity with the assigned reading(s). 

Class Participation

Class-discussion of specific topics on the basis of the compulsory readings (descriptive or theoretical pieces), as well as some communication exercises (speaking and listening to the Other) on the basis of the readings.

Written Work 

Students are expected to keep a journal, which may be personal in tone but should be ‘professional’ in the sense that here students are expected to record significant cultural phenomena related to the course with some serious reflection. (E.g. recording only what you had for lunch and whether you liked it is not a good entry, whereas what you encountered in terms of the waiters’ and people’s behaviour in the restaurant is a worthy topic. Your entries may have emotional colouring but should not be too self-centred and overemotional. Please be personal by looking not only at your ‘inside’ but also ‘the outside’.) Students are expected to make two or three (hand-written or typed up) entries per week and hand them in to the instructor, who will provide feedback (ask further, challenging questions, make evaluative remarks, etc.). Emphasis is on depth and not on length but the weekly ‘output’ should be around two to three pages. Journal topics will be provided but students may also decide on themes on their own.

Examinations

Critical evaluation of concepts and essays as Midterm and Final examinations.

  • Midterm: it will consist of two parts: (1) explanation and interpretation of concepts and (2) two shorter essays on major topics.
  • Final: this will be a longer, integrative essay covering major themes of the course but students should still be critical of the concepts used. Emphasis will be on the development of the student’s ideas shaping alongside the course as a whole.

Field Trip

There will also be an optional field-trip to Budapest, led by the instructor.

content: 
Meeting Content
1. Introduction  
2. What is communicative competence? Reading: D. Hymes: “Towards Ethnographies of Communication: The Analysis of Communicative Events” In Pier Paolo Giglioni (ed.), Language and Social Context, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983, pp. 21-44
3. Sentence vs. Statment

First diary entries due!

Reading: J. L Austin: “Truth” In Austin, Philosophical Papers, eds. by J. O Urmson and G. J. Warnock, Oxford: At The Clarendon Press, 1961, pp. 85-101

4. Controversial Implicatures Reading: H. P. Grice, “Logic and Conversation” In Grice, Studies in the Way of Words, Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1989, pp. 22-40
5. Speech Acts I: Meaning as Intention

Diary entries due!

Reading: John R. Searle: “A taxonomy of illocutionary acts” In Searle: Expression and Meaning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, pp. 1-29  

6. Speech Acts II: How to communicate indirectly Reading: John R. Searle: “Indirect Speech Acts” In Searle Expression and Meaning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, pp. 30-57
7. Text and Discourse

Diary entries due!

Reading: Paul Ricoeur: “What is a text? Explanation and understanding” In Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, Ed. and trans. by John B. Thompson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences l’Homme, 1981, pp. 145-164

8. Sign Language

Reading: (A) Margaret Deuchar: “Sign Language Research” In John Lyons et. al. (ed.), New Horizons in Linguistics, Vol. 2., Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987, pp. 311-335 and (B) Douglas Baynton, “A Silent Exile on this Earth: The Metaphoric Construction of Deafness in the Nineteenth Century,” In Lennard Davis (ed.), The Disability Studies Reader, Routledge, 1997, 128-50.

9. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Reading: (A) Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought & Reality. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1956. pp. 34-68 and (B) Rebecca Ash: “The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis”, http://www.angelfire.com/journal/worldtour99/sapirwhorf.html
10. How relative is language? Reading: Geoffrey Pullum, The Great Eskimo Hoax and Other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. pp. 22-41
11. School

Diary entries due!

Reading: (A) Géza Kállay, “Higher Education in Hungary” – Fulbright Lectures, 2010 and (B) Terrence E. Deal and Kent D. Peterson: “Ceremonies and Traditions: Culture in action” In Deal and Peterson: Shaping School Culture, Pitfalls, Paradoxes and Promises, Second ed., San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons, 2009, pp. 100-115.  

12. Games Reading: Katie Salen-Eric Zimmerman : “Unit 4: Culture and Games as Cultural Resistance” In Salen-Zimmerman: Rules of Play, Games Design Fundamentals, MIT, 2004, pp. 502-513 and pp. 556-569, and Stefan Zweig: “Chess Story” [“The Royal Game”], trans. by Joel Rotenberg, New York: Review Books, 2006
13

Diary entries due!

Reading: (A) Joseph Urgo, “The Burden of the Future: The Reinvention of the U.S. Frontier at the End of the Twentieth Century” In Maria Jose Alvarez Maurin, Manuel Broncano Rodriguez, and Jose Luis Chamosa Gonzalez (eds.), La Frontera: Mito y Realidad del Nuevo Mundo. León, Spain: Universidad de León, 1994. 321-333 and (B) Barth-Scalmani, Gunda, Herman J.W. Kuprian, and Brigitte Mazohl-Wallnig: “National Identity or Regional Identity: Austria Versus Tyrol/Salzburg – The case of Salzburg” In Günter Bischof, Anton Pelinka (eds.), Austrian Historical Memory & National Identity, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers,  46-63.

14. Homeland Reading: Anna Wierzbicka: “Chapter 4: Lexicon as a Key to History, Nation, and Society: ‘Homeland’ and ‘Fatherland’ in German, Polish, and Russian” In Wierzbicka: Understanding Cultures Through Their Key Words. New York: Oxford U. Press, 1997. 156-197.  
15

Diary entries due!

Reading: (A) Harvey Levenstein: “Chapter 3: The Rise of the Giant Food Processors” In Levenstein, Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2003, pp. 30-43 [How eating culture changed in America – a brilliant, entertaining scientific study] and (B) Rachel Laudan, “Slow Food: The French Terroir Strategy, and Culinary Modernism.  An Essay Review of Carlo Petrini, trans. William McCuaig.  Slow Food: The Case for Taste (New York: Columbia University Press).  Food Culture and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 7. 2. (2004), 133-144.

16 Reading: (A) John Coveney: “Nutrition Landscapes in Late Modernity” In Coveney, Food, morals, and meaning : the pleasure and anxiety of eating New York: Routledge, 2000. 92-106. and (B)

Magda Heaely: “The legal drinking age in different countries” http://www.helium.com/items/1156792-drinking-age-alcohol-purchase-age-legal-buying-age [Survey of drinking habits in various cultures.]

17. Religion in Austria

Diary entries due!

Reading: Paul M. Zulehner: “Religion in Austria” In Günter Bischof, Anton Pelinka and Herman Denz (eds.), Religion in Austria, Contemporary Austrian Studies, Vol. 13, 2005, pp. 37-62

18. Personal Relations Reading: John Modell: “Chapter 11: Modern in a New Way” In Modell, Into One’s Own, From Youth to Adulthood in the United States, Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California Press, 1989, pp. 263-325
19. Media Reading: Jonathan Bignell: “Chapter 6: Articulating Media from the Global to the Local”, In Bignell: Postmodern Media Culture, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press and Delhi: Akkar Press, 2007, pp. 166-190
20. Internet Reading: Jonathan Bignell: “Chapter 7: Computer-based Media”, In Bignell: Postmodern Media Culture, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press and Delhi: Akkar Press, 2007, pp. 193-219

 

Required readings: 
  • Ash, Rebecca: “The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis”,
  • http://www.angelfire.com/journal/worldtour99/sapirwhorf.html
  • Austin, J. L. : Philosophical Papers, eds. by J. O Urmson and G. J. Warnock, Oxford: At The Clarendon Press, 1961
  • Austin, J. L. :“Truth” In J. L.: Austin: Philosophical Papers, eds. by J. O Urmson and G. J. Warnock, pp. 85-101
  • Bignell, Jonathan: “Chapter 6: Articulating Media from the Global to the Local”, In Jonathan Bignell: Postmodern Media Culture, pp. 166-190
  • Bignell, Jonathan: “Chapter 7: Computer-based Media”, In Jonathan Bignell: Postmodern Media Culture, pp. 193-219
  • Bignell, Jonathan: Postmodern Media Culture, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press and Delhi: Akkar Press, 2007
  • Bischof, Günter Anton Pelinka and Herman Denz (eds.), Religion in Austria, Contemporary Austrian Studies, Vol. 13, 2005
  • Bischof, Günter and Anton Pelinka (eds.), Austrian Historical Memory & National Identity, Contemporary Austrian Studies, vol. 5. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1997.
  • Barth-Scalmani, Gunda, Herman J.W. Kuprian, and Brigitte Mazohl-Wallnig: “National Identity or Regional Identity: Austria Versus Tyrol/Salzburg – The case of Salzburg” In Günter Bischof, Anton Pelinka (eds.), Austrian Historical Memory & National Identity, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1997, 46-63.
  • Baynton, Douglas. “A Silent Exile on this Earth: The Metaphoric Construction of Deafness in the Nineteenth Century” In Lennard Davis (ed.), The Disability Studies Reader, Routledge, 1997, 128-50.
  • John Coveney: “Nutrition Landscapes in Late Modernity” In Coveney, Food, morals, and meaning: the pleasure and anxiety of eating. New York: Routledge, 2000. 92-106.
  • John Coveney, Food, morals, and meaning: the pleasure and anxiety of eating. New York: Routledge, 2000
  • Davis, Lennard (ed.). The Disability Studies Reader, Routledge, 1997.
  • Deal, Terrence E. and Kent D. Peterson: “Culture in action” In Terrence E. Deal and Kent D. Peterson: Shaping School Culture, Pitfalls, Paradoxes and Promises, pp. 100-114
  • Deal, Terrence E. and Kent D. Peterson: Shaping School Culture, Pitfalls, Paradoxes and Promises, Second ed., San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons, 2009
  • Deuchar, Margaret: “Sign Language Research” In John Lyons et. al. (ed.), New Horizons in Linguistics, Vol. 2., pp. 311-335
  • Frege, Gottlob: “On Sense and Reference” Trans. by Max Black, In Peter Ludlow (ed.): Readings in the Philosophy of Language, pp. 563-584
  • Giglioni, Pier Paolo (ed.): Language and Social Context, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983
  • Grice, H. P.: “Logic and Conversation” In H. P. Grice:  Studies in the Way of Words, pp. 22-40
  • Grice, H. P.: Studies in the Way of Words, Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1989 
  • Heaely, Magda: “The legal drinking age in different countries” http://www.helium.com/items/1156792-drinking-age-alcohol-purchase-age-le...
  • Hymes, D.: “Towards Ethnographies of Communication: The Analysis of Communicative Events” In Pier Paolo Giglioni (ed.): Language and Social Context, pp. 21-44
  • Kállay, Géza: “Higher Education in Hungary” – Fulbright Lectures, 2010 [manuscript] 
  • Rachel Laudan, “Slow Food: The French Terroir Strategy, and Culinary Modernism.  An Essay Review of Carlo Petrini, trans. William McCuaig.  Slow Food: The Case for Taste (New York: Columbia University Press).  Food Culture and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 7. 2. (2004), 133-144.
  • Levenstein, Harvey: “Chapter 3: The Rise of the Giant Food Processors” In Harvey Levenstein: Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet. pp. 30-43
  • Levenstein, Harvey: Revolution at the table: The Transformation of the American Diet, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2003.
  • Ludlow, Peter (ed.): Readings in the Philosophy of Language, Cambridge, Mass.-London: The MIT Press, Bradford, 1997
  • Lyons, John et. al. (ed.), New Horizons in Linguistics, Vol. 2., Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987
  • Maurin, Maria Jose Alvarez, Manuel Broncano Rodriguez, and Jose Luis Chamosa Gonzalez (eds.), La Frontera: Mito y Realidad del Nuevo Mundo. León, Spain: Universidad de León, 1994.
  • Modell, John Into One’s Own: from Youth to Adulthood in the United States, Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California Press, 1989
  • Modell, John: “Chapter 11: Modern in a New Way” In John Modell, Into One’s Own: from Youth to Adulthood in the United States, pp. 263-325
  • Pullum, Geoffrey: The Great Eskimo Hoax and Other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. pp. 22-41
  • Ricoeur, Paul Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, ed. and trans. by John B. Thompson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences l’Homme, 1981
  • Ricoeur, Paul: “What is a text? Explanation and understanding” In Paul Ricoeur: Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, pp. 145-164
  • Salen, Katie -Eric Zimmerman: “Unit 4: Culture and Games as Cultural Resistance” In Katie Salen-Eric Zimmerman: Rules of Play, Games Design Fundamentals, pp. 502-513 and pp. 556-569
  • Salen, Katie –Eric Zimmerman: Rules of Play, Games Design Fundamentals, MIT, 2004
  • Searle, John R.: “A taxonomy of illocutionary acts” In John R. Searle: Expression and Meaning, pp. 1-29
  • Searle, John R.: “Indirect Speech Acts” In John R. Searle Expression and Meaning, pp. 30-57
  • Searle, John R.: Expression and Meaning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985
  • Urgo, Joseph. “The Burden of the Future: The Reinvention of the U.S. Frontier at the End of the Twentieth Century” In Maria Jose Alvarez Maurin, Manuel Broncano Rodriguez, and Jose Luis Chamosa Gonzalez (eds.), La Frontera: Mito y Realidad del Nuevo Mundo. León, Spain: Universidad de León, 1994. 321-333. 
  • Whorf, Benjamin Lee: Language, Thought & Reality. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1956. pp. 34-68
  • Zulehner, Paul M.: “Religion in Austria” In Günter Bischof, Anton Pelinka and Herman Denz (eds.), Religion in Austria, pp. 37-62
  • Zweig, Stefan: “Chess Story” [“The Royal Game”], trans. by Joel Rotenberg, New York: Review Books, 2006