Exploring Intercultural Communication : Language in Action book cover
2nd Edition

Exploring Intercultural Communication
Language in Action


Zhu Hua

ISBN 9781138066854
Published July 18, 2018 by Routledge
304 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Exploring Intercultural Communication investigates the role of language in intercultural communication, paying particular attention to the interplay between cultural diversity and language practice. This second edition increases and updates the coverage on emerging key topics, including symbolic power, communicative turbulence, conversational inequality, stereotypes, racism, Nationality and Ethnicity talk and the impact and role of technology in intercultural communication. Including global examples from a range of genres, this book is an indispensable resource for students taking language and intercultural communication modules within applied linguistics, TESOL, education or communication studies courses.

Table of Contents




Transcription Conventions

Series editors’ introduction

Notes on using this book

Part I

Intercultural communication in everyday life

1 Language Classrooms

1.1 Culture and language learning and teaching (Does learning a language mean learning a culture?)

1.2 Culture of learning (How many times do I need to practise?)

1.3 Multicultural classrooms (Why is she so quiet in the classroom?)

1.4 Chapter summary

2 The workplace

2.1 Meetings (Has anything been decided in the meeting?)

2.2 Small talk (Haven’t seen you for ages!)

2.3 Humour (I didn’t get that!)

2.4 Chapter Summary

3 Business

3.1 Advertising (Buy it, sell it, love it)

3.2 International business negotiation (Why do they talk a lot about nothing really?)

3.3 More language and communication matters (Dear Respected Mr Lin, How are you?)

3.4 Chapter summary

4 Family and Migration

4.1 Migrant families (I’m British on paper, but am I English?)

4.2 Intercultural couples (Can love speak without words?)

4.3 Language choice and learning at home (Good boy! Well done habeebi (my darling))

4.4 Chapter summary

5 Study abroad and tourism

5.1 Study abroad (Does ‘real’ experience help with my language and intercultural learning?)

5.2 Tourism (Can I take a picture with you?)

5.3 Chapter summary

Part II

Developing intercultural communicative competence

6 What are culture-specific ways of communication and why?

6.1 High versus low context: relationship and networks

6.2 High involvement: solidarity and connectedness

6.3 Directness or indirectness: face, politeness and rapport

6.4 Turn-taking: universals vs. cultural variations

6.5 Space: the silent language

6.6 Chapter summary

7 What causes turbulence in intercultural communication

7.1 Communicative turbulence

7.2 Symbolic power

7.3 Pragmatic mismatch

7.4 Clash of styles

7.5 Mismatch in schemas and cultural stereotypes

7.6 Mismatch in contextualisation and framing

7.7 Chapter summary


8 What contributes to successful communication?

8.1 Accommodating towards your audience

8.2 Negotiation as the way of engagement

8.3 Interpreting and mediating interaction

8.4 Understanding professional and institutional discourse

8.5 Chapter summary

9 How to develop intercultural communicative competence

9.1 ICC in foreign language teaching and learning

9.2 A multidisciplinary overview of ICC

9.3 Intercultural learning through education and training

9.4 Intercultural learning from a language socialisation perspective

9.5 Chapter summary

Part III

Understanding intercultural communication critically

10 The relation between language, culture and thought: the classical question

10.1 The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: language controls or influences thought

10.2 Colour terms: language influences, but does not determine perception

10.3 ‘The geography of thought’: culture influences thought independent of language

10.4 Cultural key words: vocabulary as index of a culture

10.5 The language of thought: language as a window into human nature; and thought exists independently of language

10.6 The bilingual mind: thinking and speaking in two languages

10.7 Thinking back: relevance to intercultural communication

11 Theories of culture: a fundamental question

11.1 Compositional approach: culture as a collection of things shared by people.

11.2 Interpretive approach: culture as semiotic

11.3 Action approach: culture as a process

11.4 Critical approach: culture as power and ideological struggle

11.5 Overview: complexity of culture

11.6 Thinking back: from what culture is to what intercultural communication is

12 Language, identity and interculturality: a paradigm-shifting question

12.1 ‘Where are you from?’

12.2 Identity: multiplicity and types

12.3 Cultural identity

12.4 Interculturality: from being to doing cultural identities

12.5 Thinking back and looking forward

Task commentaries

Glossary of key terms


Index of subjects

Index of languages, cultures and geographical areas

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Zhu Hua is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Communication at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. She has published extensively on multilingual and intercultural communication and child language. She is forum and reviews editor of Applied Linguistics and joint series editor of Routledge Language and Intercultural Communication Series and Cambridge Key Topics in Applied Linguistics Series.


'This book provides a lucid introduction to the field of intercultural communication which has grown steadily over the past decade. As in the earlier edition, key domains (e.g. classroom, workplace, business, family) are covered with engaging real world case studies and practical exercises. The second edition provides additional and interesting new material and new perspectives, such as the concept of "turbulence" in intercultural communication, as well as updated references, accurately reflecting recent advances in the field.'
Janet Holmes, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

'This revised, expanded and updated edition of Zhu Hua’s popular textbook has become even more attractive in its detailed coverage of key practical and theoretical issues in intercultural communication studies. Varied topics, lively style and useful activities will appeal to students around the world.'
Adam Jaworski, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong