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Unit 1 (3)

CASE 1: Showing Concern (3)

CASE 2: First Offer (3)

CASE 3: Land Cruiser Advertisement (3)

Case Study: An elderly Chinese Farming in America (4)

Exercises (5)

1 Matching the terms with their definitions (5)

2 Comprehension Check (5)

3 Cultural Puzzles (6)

Unit 2 (8)

Case 1 Twelve cups of tea (8)

Case 2 Have you had your lunch? / Where are you going? (8)

Case 3 Li Hongzhang‘s embarrassment (8)

Case 4 Different Attitudes Toward a Fly in a Beer (9)

Case 5 Borrow Money & Lend Money (9)

Case Study: An International Classroom (10)

Exercises (11)

1. Comprehension Check (11)

2. Culture Puzzles (11)

Unit 3 (12)

Case 1 Shoes for Street Walking (12)

Case 2 A Misunderstanding Caused by a Joke (12)

Case 3 Look out (13)

Case Study: Grandparents and Grandchildren (13)

Exercises (14)

1. Comprehension Check (14)

Unit 4 (15)

Case 1 An Invitation to Dinner (15)

Case 2 The Cancellation of the Dinner Party (16)

Case 3 Why Should They Do Like This? (16)

Case 4 The Embarrassment Caused By ―No Etiquette‖ (17)

Case Study: Managing Your Company Culturally (17)

Exercises (18)

1. Comprehension Check (18)

2. Expression Understanding (19)

3. Cultural Puzzle (19)

Unit 5 (20)

Case 1 Personal Space (20)

Case 2 Left in the Cold (20)

Case Study: Much Ado About Touching (21)

Exercises (23)

1. Comprehension Check (23)

Unit 6 (24)

Case 1 I‘ve Not Considered Marriage Yet (24)

Case 2 Can We Talk About Us? (24)

Case 3 Feeling Let-out (25)

Case Study: The Wrong Answer (25)

Exercises (26)

1. Decide whether the following statements are true or false. (26)

2. Cultural Puzzles (27)

Unit 1

CASE 1: Showing Concern

In China:

Xiao Li (an interpreter): You must be very tired. You‘re old…

Catherine (an elderly American lady): Oh, I‘m NOT old, and I‘m NOT tired.


What the interpreter said is quite courteous in China. It means, ―If you are tired, we can take a little rest, since you are getting on in years.‖ The interpreter gave the impression that he thought the elderly lady would collapse any minute if she doesn‘t rest immediately.

In the West, there is a value placed in being young that many people consciously, or subconsciously, are not willing to accept that they are growing old.

Questions for discussion:

How should we express the concern?

In the West:

A: How are you doing now? Would you like to rest?

B: No, not a bit.


The way of showing concern is different.

CASE 2: First Offer

A Canadian colleague and I traveled to Guilin with our admirable guide Heping Liu in very hot weather. Sightseeing is a thirsty business. We did not trust the water, and enjoyed excellent beer. We politely offered some to Heping but he refused. We said nothing and drank our beer, while poor Heping watched. On another day, Heping quickly accepted our offer of beer. Questions for discussion:

In your daily life, do you often accept first offer? If yes, in what situation?


Chinese customs show that Heping was being modest, polite and well-behaved and had every intention of accepting the beer at the second or third offer, impressing his charges with his modesty. But Heping did not understand North American rules, which firmly say that you do not push alcoholic beverages on anyone. A person may not drink for religious reasons; he may be a reformed alcoholic, or he may be allergic. Whatever the reason behind the rule, you do not insist on offering alcohol.

CASE 3: Land Cruiser Advertisement

Advertisements sometimes caused cultural conflicts between people from different nations.

A Land Cruiser is running along a rugged and steep mountain path in Kekexili, dragging with shackles behind it a heavy and clumsy truck looking like Dongfeng. The ad says: Nothing can prevent it from advancing (征途无限).

Some Chinese get angry. They think that the truck behind is Dongfeng. Being dragged by the Land Cruiser implies that China is backward, which hurts the national dignity of the Chinese people.

The Toyota company in China published a public letter of apology: they apologized for publishing such advertisement, and decided to stop it immediately. It emphasized that they did not mean to hurt the Chinese. Their original intention was just for business. Nothing more.

Case Study: An elderly Chinese Farming in America

Introduction to the case

According to a recent report, in 2006 there were more than 39000 elderly Chinese living in New York State. Most of them went to America for the sake of their children, who had decided to settle in the United States after graduating from an American university

The scenario

Zhao Xinggui, 62 years old, had been a farmer in Shanxi. To relieve Zhao‘s loneliness after the death of his wife, his only son, who had settle in America for years, working as a librarian in an American university, asked his father to come to live with him.

When his son went to work, Zhao spent most of his time sitting in front of the TV. He often dreamed of his friends and neighbors in china, who often talked, drank tea and played mahjong togher during their leisure time. ―America is a good place, but it‘s too dull‖, he said.

What Zhao did not expect was that his farming life could continue in America. Like may university towns established in agricultural areas, the surrounding land was a major source of income for the university. All the teachers and students, after paying a nominal rent, were able to enjoy the pleasure of farming.

Different from most of the American families, who casually used their parcels of land to raise flowers, Chinese tenants grew vegetables. Zhao was one of those tenants and one of the most famous for his farming talents. May elderly Chinese came to ask him for advice, and they often conversed while selling their spare vegetables. That summer was the happiest time for Zhao.


Exercise 1 listen for the first time and answer the following questions.

1. Why did Zhzo go to Ameirca?

2.Did Zhao enjoy his American life?

Exercise 2

listen for the second time and fill in the blanks.

Exercise 3 explore interculturally

1. Why did Zhao say ―America is a good place, but it‘s too dull?‖what can we learn about Chinese culture?

2. Why did most Chinese families decide to grow vegetables instead of flowers on their land? What can we learn about Chinese culture?

3. Culture is often compared to the ―software‖ of people‘s minds. Cite the examples in this case to explain sentence.


1. When his son went to work, Zhao was quite lonely and did not have any friends. This kind of life was quite different from

his farming life in China, where there were always many friends and neighbors around, talking, drinking tea and playing mahjong together during the leisure time. Chinese culture is a group-oriented culture, in which people depend on each other heavily for a good life.

2. Chinese people are very practical and thrifty. For them, it is wasteful to use land only to raise flowers. Confucian teachings, which originated in the group-oriented cultures, are the guidelines that help shape this national temperament.

3. When Zhao was in America, he found that his loneliness was not relieved, and he missed his old friends a lot. That summer was the happiest time for him mainly because he was able to talk with other elderly Chinese again.

From this example, we can learn that culture governs people‘s mi nd and helps determine whether they are happy or not. Another example in this case is the choice of Chinese families to grow vegetables on their rented land.

Here we learn that culture governs people‘s behavior and provides guideline for what to do and what not to do Exercises

1 Matching the terms with their definitions

A. culture

B. communication

C. ethnocentrism

D. intercultural communication

E. business communication

1.( ) The belief that your own cultural background, including ways of analyzing problems, values, beliefs, language, and verbal and nonverbal communication, is superior.

2.( ) The total accumulation of beliefs, customs, values, behaviors, institutions and communication patterns that are shared, learned and passed down through the generations in an identifiable group of people.

3.( ) A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior, or the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, signals, writing, or behavior.

4.( )The communication is within business and administration, aiming at a common objective and profits for both the individuals and organizations.

5.( ) The communication between people from different cultures when a member of one culture produces a message for consumption by a member of another culture.


1. C. ethnocentrism

2. A. culture

3. B. communication

4. E. business communication

5. D. intercultural communication

2 Comprehension Check

Decide whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F).

__ 1. As a phenomenon, intercultural communication has existed for thousands of years. However, as a discipline, its history is only about fifty years.

__2. Intercultural Communication as a discipline first started in Europe.

__3. Culture is a static entity while communication is a dynamic process.

__4. Culture can be seen as shared knowledge, what people need to know in order to act appropriately in a given culture.

__5. Although cultural stereotype has its limitations (over-generalization), it still contributes to a person‘s cultural cognition. __6. In intercultural communication, we should separate one‘s individual character from cultural generalization.

__7. Cultural mistakes are more serious than linguistic mistakes. The linguistic mistake means that someone is not fully expressing his or her idea while cultural mistakes can lead to serious misunderstanding and even ill-feeling between individuals.

__8. All people of the same nationality will have the same culture.

__9. Although two cultures may share the same ideas, their meaning and significance may not be the same.

__10. One‘s actions are totally independent of his or her culture.


1-5 TFFTT 6-10 TTFTF

3 Cultural Puzzles

Read the following situations and choose the appropriate answer(s). There may be more than one possible answer for each cultural puzzle.

1. What would you do if someone told you to use his or her first name, but you felt uncomfortable doing this?

a. You could continue to use the person‘s last name without explaining why.

b. You could try to use the person‘s first name even though you feel uncomfortable doing this.

c. You could ask the person, ―Is it OK if I use your last name?‖



a) No. Ignoring other‘s suggestion is impolite and offensive.

b) Yes. When you try something new, it may be difficult at first. After a while, you will get accustomed to it.

c) Yes. You could learn about other‘s customs by asking for cultural explan ations.

2. Situation: An American woman received a letter from a recently married Japanese friend. The Japanese woman wrote in her letter, ―My husband is not very handsome. Your husband is much more handsome than mine.‖ The American woman was very surprised at what her friend wrote.

1) Why do you think the American was surprised?

a) The American woman saw a picture of her friend‘s husband and thought that he was very handsome.

b) The American woman didn‘t think her own husband was handsome.

c) In the U.S., it is disrespectful to say that one‘s husband is not handsome.


a) No. Even if this was true, she wouldn‘t expect a wife to say this about her own husband. To her, the Japanese woman insulted her own husband.

b) No. Even if this was true, she woul dn‘t expect the Japanese woman to compare their husbands‘ appearance.

c) Yes. If an American woman said this about her husband, people might think that they didn‘t have a good relationship.

2) Why do you think the Japanese woman wrote, ―My husband is not very handsome ‖?

a) The Japanese woman was trying to tell her American friend that she did not like her husband very much.

b) It is uncommon in Japan to compliment one‘s husband.

c) The Japanese woman didn‘t think her husband was handsome, but she liked his personality.


a) No. This would not be a Japanese way for a wife to say that she didn‘t like her husband.

b) It is uncommon in Japan to compliment one‘s husband.

c) The Japanese woman didn‘t think her husband was handsome, but she liked his perso nality.

In Japan, a person would be considered boastful and not modest enough if he or she complimented his or her family members in front of others.

IX. Assignments

1. Case Study —— To Be Direct or Not

2. Video Watching Gua Sha 《刮痧》

3. Questions for reflection:

Asking yourself: Am I an ethnocentrist or just the opposite? How to be a successful intercultural communicators?

What is the relationship between the technological development and the intercultural communication?

Role Play

V olunteers needed

4. Read the following case and analyze why Sam didn‘t perform his work successfully together with his Saudi Arabian laborers.

To Be Direct or No t


Sam Lucas, a construction supervisor for an international engineering firm, had the reputation of being tough but fair-minded. He was a very forceful, obstinate individual who always spoke his mind. He never hesitated to criticize any worker whom he felt was performing poorly. Even though during his six years with the company Sam had never worked outside of the United States, he was chosen to supervise construction on a new hotel project in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, primarily because of his outstanding work record. On this project, Sam supervised the work of about a dozen Americans and nearly 100 Saudi Arabian laborers.

It was not long before Sam realized that the Saudi Arabian laborers, to his way of thinking, were nowhere as reliable as the workers he had supervised in the United States. He was becoming increasingly annoyed at the seeming lack of competence of the local workforce. Following the leadership style that helped him in such good stead at home, he would rebuke any worker who was not doing his job properly, and he would make certain that he did it publicly so that it would serve as a lesson to all the other workers. He was convinced that he was doing the right thing and was being fair, for after all, he rebuked both Americans and Saudi Arabians alike. He was troubled, however, by the fact that the problems seemed to be growing worse and more numerous.

In the United States, public criticism is one of a number of techniques that can be used quite effectively to change personnel‘s behavior. In the world of Islam, however, where the preservation of dignity and slef-respect is absolutely essential, public reprimand will be totally counterproductive(产生不良后果的). If Arabs feel that they have suffered a loss of personal dignity because they have been criticized in public, they take it as a dishonor to both themselves and their families. And when Sam insisted on using t his ―motivational‖ technique, the individual at whom the reprimand was directed was not only hurt for the open humiliation(丢脸;羞辱) but also loses the respect of fellow workers witnessing it.

Unit 2

Case 1 Twelve cups of tea

When I first went to Hong Kong, I had no idea about Chinese tea-drinking and found myself caught in a very awkward . I visited a Chinese family and was immediately given a cup of tea. I was not thirsty and I did not particularly like that type of tea, but out of politeness I finished the cup but the more I drank, the more I was given. I kept insisting that I did not want any more, but the host took no notice. I drank about twelve cups of tea that afternoon! The host must have thought I was very greedy, but I did not know how to avoid getting more tea poured .(Helen Oatey, 1988)

Question 1: Why did I have 12 cups of tea?

Question 2: How could you help ―I‖ in this case out of the awkward situation?

Case 2 Have you had your lunch? / Where are you going?

When I first went to Hong Kong a number of years ago. I had no idea about the Chinese language or the Chinese culture. Shortly after my arrival, I went to the bank on my way to school. I was extremely surprised when the bank clerk asked me if I had had my lunch. In British culture, this question would be regarded as an indirect invitation to lunch, and between unmarried young people it indicates a young man‘s interest in dating a girl. Since he was a complete stranger, I was quite taken aback.

I proceeded to school and was even more surprised when one of the teachers asked me the same question. By now I realized that it could not be an invitation, but I was puzzled as to why they kept asking it.

In the following days, as I was asked the question again and again, I came to the conclusion that people must be concerned about my health. I was somewhat underweight, and I assumed they must be worried that I was eating properly. Only later, did I find out that the question had no real significance at all, it was merely a greeting.

English people have a very strong sense of privacy. They are easily offended by comments which seem to invade their personal lives, so the Chinese greeting ―where are you going?‖ is uncomfortable to them. They regard it as a request for information and as an invasion of their privacy.

In fact, many foreign teachers in China have complained that their room attendants are spies because the attendants have greeted them with ―where are you going‖

Case 3 Li Hongzhang’s embarrassment

Li Hongzhang, one of the top officials in the Qing Dynast was invited to visit the United States. He was warmly welcomed. One day, Li was hosting a banquet for the American officials in a popular restaurant.

As the banquet started, according to the Chinese custom, Li stood up and said, ―I am ver y happy to have all of you here today. Though these dishes are coarse and not delicious and good enough to show my respect for you, I hope you will enjoy them…‖

(今天承蒙各位光临,不胜荣幸。我们略备粗馔,聊表寸心,没有什么可口的东西,不成敬意,请大家多多包涵。。。。。。) The next day, the English version of his words was shown in the local newspaper. To his shock, the restaurant owner flew

into a rage. He thought it was an insult to his restaurant and insisted that Li should show him the evidence of which dish was not well-made and which dish was not delicious. Otherwise, Li intentionally damaged the reputation of the restaurants, and he should apologize. All the fuss made Li rather embarrassed.

Question 1 Could the Westerners understand Chinese modesty?

America is a country with highly valued individualism and they express themselves rather directly. They could not understand the Easterners‘ over-modesty, for they tend to comprehend what they hear literally.

Question 2: How could Li get rid of his embarrassment?

The cuision of your country is really great. It is my great honor to have a chance to entertain you with them.



If one day you entered an American company…

Chinese applicant : my ability is limited.

American employer: if you have limited ability, why should I hire you?

most of you would be refused.

if you said how capable you were, he may hire you.

Case 4 Different Attitudes Toward a Fly in a Beer

Different Attitudes Toward a Fly in a Beer

Scene: In the dinning hall, a fly was seen in a glass of beer.

An English man

―May I have another, please?‖

A Frenchman

Just pour the beer out

A Spanish

Put the money on the table and leave without a word

A Japanese

Summon the manager and criticize, ―Do you do all your business like this?‖

An Arab

Give the beer to the waiter and say, ―I will buy you a drink.‖

An American

―Please serve the fly and beer separately. If the customer likes the fly, he could put it into his beer himself.‖


social interaction may vary greatly owing to different cultural backgrounds. In this case, people‘s different reactions towar d a fly in a beer reveal not only their individual personality but also the orientation of their nation‘s mainstream culture.

Case 5 Borrow Money & Lend Money

While I was studying in America, I met an American classmate named Jimmy.One day I was eager to buy a book, but I did not have enough money, so I borrowed three dollars from him. Before he lent me the three dollars, Jimmy asked me three times ―Are you sure you will return the money to me?‖ Four days later, he kept reminding me about the loan until I paid him back the money.

Interestingly enough, weeks later he borrowed $30 from me and said he would pay me back in a week. After one month, there was no sign of the money so I reminded him. To my surprise, he said, ―I‘m sorry, why didn‘t you remind me earlier?‖

and returned the money instantly.

If you were ―I‖ in this case, how would you adjust yourself?

What‘s the response of the the American if you are generous and say: ―Don‘t mention it again. You don‘t have to pay me back.‖


Americans don‘t readily give money to others nor receive others‘ readily. If you lent money to an American generously, and said, ―Don‘t mention it again. You don‘t have to pay me back.‖, he would be angry and think you were looking down on him, not believing his ability


Case Study: An International Classroom

Introduction to the Case

Human beings are social animals. Communication occurs every moment in every corner of the world. While people adopt different approaches to communication for various reasons, culture is one of the most important factors. Culture drives the way in which people communicate. People in different cultures usually favor different styles and patters of communication. The scenario

It was a hot day. Since it was still too early to use the air-conditioner, according to the regulations of the university, every class kept its door open to make the classroom cooler. While i was lecturing on Chinese grammar in Class 4, waves of laughter came form the neighboring Class 5.

A German student named Stephen raised his hand and stood up. ―The laughter fro Class 5 is bothering us. I think we should go to their class to protest,‖ he said.

His deskmate, a student from Japan, shook his head. ―Is it necessary to protest over such a minor issue? Ia can tolerate this noise. And there are some Japanese Friends of mine in Class 5. I don‘t want to make my friends unhappy just because of their laughter.‖

Another Japanese girl stood up, ―Let me close out door. Although that will make it hotter, it will be quieter.‖

She was stopped by a French students. ―Why should we close our door and suffer from the hear? Class 5 should close their door in order not to bother other classes.‖

A few students from Africa suggested, ―why not strike our desks like drums to protest?‖

A girl from Russia agreed, ―Our class could also laugh together to let them know what the noise sounds like‖

Two Korean students whispered to each other, ―Western students really have a hot temper. They just don‘t know how to stay clam. How cou ld we get along well with other classes if we can‘t control ourselves?‖

A Hungarian girl happened to overhear their comments. She disagreed, ―I don‘t understand you Asians. You won‘t protest even when your rights have been violated.‖

More laughter came fro m Class 5. Stephen stood up, ―no matter what you think about it, I‘m going to protest.‖ He went to Class 5 and asked, ―How happy you must be today! May we share in your happiness?‖ Laughter stopped. After a while, Class 5 closed their door.

Stephen came ba ck satisfied and told his Japanese classmates, ―now you Asians can enjoy the peace won by us Westerners.‖ After the class was over, a few European students from Class 5 came to apologize to me. They weren‘t aware that their happy laughter might have bothered Class 4. The Japanese students from Class 5, however, adopted a Chinese nickname for Stephen ―jin jin ji jiao‖(people who haggle over every ounce)

Exercise 1 listen for the first time and answer the following questions.

How many different solutions did Class 4 propose?

Exercise 2

listen for the second time and fill in the blanks.

Exercise 3 explore interculturally

1. What is the mode of communication favored by Asians? What cultural values underlie it?

2. What is the mode of communication favored by Westerners? What cultural values underlie it?


1.Generally, Asian people are very courteous and indirect in their communication. Because they put great emphasis on group harmony, they are very tolerant, even when they are offended. These collectivistic values, shaped by Confucian teachings, were spread from China to many Asian countries.

2.Westerners are generally very direct and frank in their mode of communication. And they have a strong sense of protecting their own rights. Individualistic values are the underlying principles governing their behavior.


1. Comprehension Check

Decide whether the floowing statements are true(T) or false (F)

____ 1. all cultures require and value politeness, but the ways in which politeness is achieved may vary significantly.

____2、Don‘t take offence-getting the form of address ‖wrong‖ is rarely intended to be offensive.

____ 3、Addressing forms like ―Miss Mary‖, ‖Brown‖ by the Chinese may be a form of cultural compromise.

____ 4.Ranks in the armed forces like Captain, Colonel can be used as titles.

____ 5.Westerners can understand what Uncle policeman or P.L.A. Uncle means.

____ 6.We can address Jason Douglas, who is a lawyer, as Lawyer Douglas.

____ 7.Chinese hospitality toward the westerners is always greatly appreciated.

____ 8.The Chinese way of showing concern is usually appreciated by the Westerners.

____ 9.‖Thank you for coming!‖ is a typical expression used by Western hosts when the guests just arrived.

____ 10.‖I‘m sorry to have wasted your time‖ or―I‘m sorry to have taken up so much of your time‖ are usually appropriate for the business visit.



2. Culture Puzzles

Read the following situations and choose the appropriate answer(s). There may be more than one possible answer for each cultural puzzle.

1. What would you do if you met a woman and you didn‘t know if she should be called ―Mrs.‖, ―Miss‖ or ―Ms‖?

a) You could you ―Ms.‖

b) You could try not to use her name.

c) You could check the woman‘s left hand to see if she‘s m arried.


a) Yes. Since ―Ms‖ is used with either married or unmarried women, it can be used safely with both. You can ask the woman what she prefers to be called.

b) Yes, by avoiding using the person‘s name, you avoid using a special form of address such as Ms. It is to always necessary to use a person‘s name when speaking to that person.

c) No. This is not always an accurate way of finding out whether a woman is married. When may wear a ring on her left hand and not be married, and vice versa. Even if the woman is married, when may prefer to be called Ms.

2. What would you do if you were introduced to someone and you didn‘t know whether or not to shake hands?

a) You could keep your hands in your pockets in order to avoid shaking hands.

b) You could w ait and see what the other person does and then you could do the same (shake or don‘t shake hands)

c) You could be the first to give your hand.


a) No if the other person wants to shake hands with you , this would be rude

b) Yes, if the other person extends his or her hand, then shake it immediately. If he or she does not, then there is no need to shake hands

c) yes, it is not considered wrong to shake hands in introduction. Some women , particularly older ones, may not be accustomed to shaking hands in an introduction. Most however, will shake hands, if you extend your hand first.

V. Assignments

1. Compare the American friendship with the Chinese friendship.

2. Video Watching

The Joy Luck Club《喜福会》

Unit 3

Case 1 Shoes for Street Walking

It is said that in Rome, in front of a shoe store, there was such a sign to attract English-speaking customers: Shoes for street walking. Come in and have a fit. The sign caught the attention of many English-speaking tourists, but not to look at the shoes displayed in the windows, but to read the sign and then break out into laughter.

The Italian shop owner did not realize that ―a street walker‖ means a prostitute, while ―to have a fit‖ does not mean to have a try, but to become suddenly and violently angry or upset. No wonder the amusement and laughter!

(Deng Yanchang et al.,1989)

Question :

Why did the Italian shop owner make such a blunder?


a street walker----- a prostitute

to have a fit-----to become suddenly and violently angry or upset

Case 2 A Misunderstanding Caused by a Joke

Roger was the Personnel Executive of a large American multinational firm. In 1996, Roger was working in Brazil to help promote their business. One evening, there was a party, attended by both his employees from the United States and many Brazilian business people. At the party, Roger bumped into Rosalita, a Brazilian woman he had known for some time. Roger generally had a very good impression of Rosalita and always felt at ease with her, so that he felt free to tell jokes and share personal thoughts, and talk about Brazil and Brazilian life without having the jitters 神经过敏of offending Rosalita.

During the party, Rosalita said to Roger, ―I‘d like to introduce you to o ne of my good friends. She is a very capable woman and is presently thinking of working in a joint venture so she can provide a better living for her large family. She is very much interested in your company.‖

Hearing that, Roger smiled and replied, ―OK, but I just hope I don‘t get hustled.‖ Unfortunately, Roger‘s reply made Rosalita quite upset. Very soon she excused herself as politely as she could, and did not speak with Roger for the rest of the evening.

Question for discussion

Roger was confused by Ro salita‘s behavior. Could you give him an explanation?


Hustle---- to force sb to make a decision before they are ready or sure

-----to work as a prostitute / romance or sex is hinted

Case 3 Look out

A foreign student in the U.S. was sitti ng by a window reading a book. She heard someone yelling ―Look out!‖ , so she stuck her head out of the window. Just then a board hurtled down from above, narrowly missing her. She looked up, half in anger and half in fright. There was a man on the roof do ing repairs. ―Didn‘t you hear me call ?Look out‘?‖ he demanded. ―Yes, and that‘s what I did,‖ she replied.

Questions for discussion

In this case, what does ―look out‖ mean? Could you give a similar case like this?


Look out---- to stick your head outside of sth. (window/door) to take a look

----to be careful, especially when there is danger

Case Study: Grandparents and Grandchildren

Introduction to the case

For most elderly Chinese living in the United States, one of their main responsibilities is to help take care of their grandchildren. Since most of their grandchildren were born and grew up in America, it‘s not an easy job for them.

The scenario

When Mr. Xin arrived in America, he was very happy to meet Mike, his ten-year-old grandson, who had been born in America. His son, who was educated according to the traditional ―beating‖ principle of China, warned Mr. Xin that according to the local law, physical punishment of children was forbidden. Mr. Xin always remembered this caution until one day. During the lunchtime, Mr. Xin couldn‘t control himself when Mike, who hated vegetables, picked out all the vegetables from his plate and threw them aside. Spanked by his grandfather for the first time, Mike didn‘t cry. He went to pick up the telephone and called the police. Mr. Xin thought mike was calling his mother, and was shocked when a police car arrived at the door fifteen minutes later.

Before her retirement, Xue Suling used to be a teacher of Chinese language in a primary school. When she was invited by her daughter to help take care of her grandson, she decided to teach him Chinese language and made a detailed plan on how to do it. What she didn‘t expect is that it was very difficult to carry out her plan, even though she was an experie nced teacher. Born in the United States the six-year-old grandson already knew how to protect his time and his ―rights‖. After returning

home from school each day, he refused to spend half an hour sitting in front of the desk to practice reading and writing Chinese. He kept asking his grandmother why the other children didn‘t have to learn it.

Things went better when Xue decided to learn English from her grandson. Every time she learned an English word, she taught him the equivalent Chinese word. In this way, both the them learned from each other.


Exercise 1 listen for the first time and answer the following questions.

1. According to MR Xin‘s son, what is not allowed in the United States?

2. What did Mike do after being spanked by his grandfather?

3. What did Xue Suling do before her retirement?

4. Did she find it easy to carry out her plan?

Exercise 2

listen for the second time and fill in the blanks.

Exercise 3 explore interculturally

1. Could you understand why Mike called the police? What can we learn about American culture and Chinese culture?

2. W hy couldn‘t Xue Suling carry out her original plan of Chinese language teaching? What can we learn about American culture and Chinese culture?


1. In china, the beating principle used to be a very popular way for parents to discipline their children. ―Parents hit you for your own good. This is the general agreement among parents. In the traditional Si Shu (private school) in ancient societies, even teachers can give students corporal punishment. In the US, although parents are not forbidden to carry out mild physical punishment, parents are generally very careful about doing so . And American children are well aware of their rights. Calling the police is one way to help protect their rights, although it is rarely used

2. Learning Chinese requires a lot of practice in reading and writing. In China, primary school students generally spend plenty of time doing this kind of practice. Many of them, whether willing or unwilling to do it , are required by their parents to continue this practice when they come back from the school. In the US, children are taught to protect their time from the day they are born, although we can also hear some complaints that children‘s schedules are filled with activi ties their parents plan for them. From it we can know that individual rights are highly valued by Americans, something that is often observed in their individualistic American culture


1. Comprehension Check

Decide whether the following statements are true(T) or false (F).

True or False Statement

1. Sometimes the Chinese way of showing modesty may be considered as fishing for compliments.

2. The social functions of Chinese and English compliments are roughly the same.

3. In informal situations, a large number of compliments are used to make people feel comfortable.

4. The cultural assumption of compliments is the same between cultures.

5. Adjectives and verbs are often used to convey compliment message in English, while adjectives, adverbs and verbs are

often used in Chinese.

6. English compliments often begin with the word ―you‖ while Chinese compliments often start with the word ―I‖.

7. Chinese people give more compliments in daily life than Americans.

8. Americans tend to be self-effacing in their compliment responses.

9. Compliments on other‘s belongings are sometimes an indirect way of request in American culture.

10. If a guest compliments something in another person‘s home, the Chinese host or hostess will probably give that thing to the guest.


1-5 TTTFT 6-10 FFFFT

Unit 4

Case 1 An Invitation to Dinner

Background information

Communion(圣餐仪式, Roman Catholic Church)

All together recite or sing the "Lord's Prayer‖. The sign of peace is exchanged and then the "Lamb of God‖is sung or recited, while the priest breaks the host and places a piece in the main chalice; this is known as the rite of fraction and commingling.

Bart Rapson had brought his family to the Philippines on a job assignment for a multinational corporation. While not particularly religious themselves, having largely abandoned the practice of Catholicism except for token appearances at Christmas and Easter, they still felt that their children might benefit from belonging to a church. They explained to friends that the church can give children a sense of belonging and can provide some moral and ethical guidance.

Since the Philippines is largely Catholic, it was easy for Bart to place his 7-year-old daughter in a Sunday school class that would prepare her for her First Communion. As the day approached, Bart planned for an after-church party, inviting colleagues and their families from work. One Filipino colleague, Manuel, to whom Bart felt especially close, kept putting off an answer to Bart‘s invitation, saying neither ―yes‖ nor ―no‖. Finally, Bart said, ―My wife needs to know how many p eople to cook for.‖ Still not giving a yes or no answer, Manuel later called and said that he would be attending a different party that would be attended by other Filipinos. Maneul said that he would try to stop by sometime during Bart‘s party.

Bart was qu ite upset. He complained, ―If this is supposedly a Catholic country, why would they not place a value on this?‖ why would he turn down a once-in-a-lifetime gathering, my daughter‘s Communion, to go to a party with friends he admits to seeing all the time? After the party, Bart was merely cordial to Manuel– there were no longer indications of friendliness. Manuel was puzzled, and had no idea what the problem was.

The director of the organization, a sensitive person, picked up the cues and realized that there was a strained relationship. Questions for Discussion

1. If you were the director and chosen to mediate this situation, what would you do to ensure not to offend either party?

2. How would you explain Bart‘s behavior to Maneul?

3. How would you explain Ma neul‘s behavior to Bart?


Different attitudes towards

A. knowing how many people will attend the gathering.

B. The first Communion

In brief, the misunderstanding in this case is mainly caused by ___________________


Keys : Maneul‘s ignorance of American customs

For Americans, knowing how many people will attend a gathering is one of the key priorities, as it helps the host to prepare properly.

For Filipinos, the number of guests is not very important , they usually prepare more food than enough and would not mind if there were leftovers

In addition

In the Philippines, the First Communion is not as important as the party that follows.

Americans pay great attention to important social gathers especially when their children are involved.

For Bart, his 7-year-old daughter‘s First Communion is very important. Inviting his colleagues to attend the gather alongside his family members is very special

Case 2 The Cancellation of the Dinner Party

Called to a staff meeting by his principal, Stan Brown from New Zealand reviewed the materials on a mathematics curriculum development project that he wished to see incorporated into the high school at which he taught. Stan had been teaching in the Philippines for two years and was enjoying his stay at this international school in Manila. Jose, who had developed a close relationship with Stan, was also asked to the meeting. The Principal asked Stan to discuss his proposal, the content of which was already known to the others at the meeting.

Only slight modifications were necessary. It was agreed to take the next step toward possible implementation. Since this had taken less time than expected, the principal asked Jose to say a few words about the curriculum development project he was working on. Again, most of the people at the meeting knew of this project. While Jose gave his project outline, Stan asked some difficult questions that forced Jose to think on his feet and defend some of his earlier assumptions. After the meeting, Jose told Stan that he coul d not meet him for dinner as earlier planned. Stan was puzzled by Jose‘s cancellation.

Question for discussion

Why did Jose cancel the dinner party?


Different attitudes towards friendship.

How do Westerners view friendship?

How do people in the east view friendship?


1.In New Zealand, a friend can openly provide constructive criticism. If Stan did not make such suggestions to a friend in his country, the friend would be angry that Stan did not help him when he had the chance.

2.In Philippines, a person cannot be a friend and a critic at the same time , or at least not in public. Stan should find some other way (acceptable to the Filipinos) to voice his comments.

Case 3 Why Should They Do Like This?

A Filipino couple was vacationing in England. While they were strolling along one of the main streets of London with a British acquaintance, they met another Filipino who had been residing there for some time. He was a good friend from the past, whom they had not seen for several years. They greeted him warmly and effusively 热情洋溢地and continued their conversation in a loud and animated fashion using their native language. After a while the British became noticeably agitated使不安, and turned his head away and sighed.

The Filipinos noticed the reaction, looked at each other, and then resumed their conversation but in a quieter tone. Discussion

Why did the British become agitated?


1.The British people maintain their etiquette and social manners even when they are very excited.

2.The Filipino couple did not introduce their Filipino friend to him

3.The Filipinos were talking in their own native language. No doubt the British felt left out, which is unacceptable and rarely occurs on social occasions in Britain.

4.When immigrants meet in a foreign country, they tend to take no notice of their surroundings/people around, which is considered to be rude and requires attention.

Case 4 The Embarrassment Caused B y “No Etiquette”

Background information

For the sake of business, Ellen was sent to study in Canada for two years. During her stay there, she encountered all sorts of inconveniences, especially the ―no etiquette‖ custom which almost drove me crazy.

No stand-up when your leader comes in

When my boss came into my office for the first time, I stood up immediately to show my respect. The boss immediately misunderstood my behavior, thought I was going out, and said he would talk with me in a while. I was accustomed to respecting all those in authority.

For instance, at an academic conference, if some academic experts came in late, and unfortunately had to stand behind me, I would feel uncomfortable and offer my seat to him.

On one occasion, I offered my seat to the Head of the Department of Internal Medicine. He said ―Thanks‖ and sat down. During the conference, he kept turning around and looking at me, which made me feel ill at ease. When the conference was over, he came over and apologized to me, ― I thought you were leaving the conference. You don‘t have to offer me.‖

What suggestions can you give ―I‖ in the above cases?

Case Study: Managing Your Company Culturally

Introduction to the case

The following is a case about an American company‘s management in one of its Mexican branches. In this case, the issue of interpersonal relationship plays a crucial role in management. Listen to the case and try to discover the problem.

The scenario

In order to further expand its activities, USAHP, an American multinational company purchased a plant in Axcala, Mexico, from a Mexican group called PAMEX. At the moment this plant has over 500 employees and produces a million cases of products per month. The plant has state of the art technology with almost completely automatic production lines. The two companies have very different ways of conducting business.

For the managers and engineers re maining from the previous company, the culture change accompanying USAHP‘s acquisition of the Axcala plant was enormous, most of the employees felt, accurately, that their jobs were at risk because of the remarkable differences in philosophy between the two companies. PAMEX promoted, rewarded, and retained employees based on their loyalty to the firm and to their immediate supervisors and on interpersonal (usually family) connections.

In contrast, USAHP‘s policy is to hire technical experts to start as supe rvisors and then grow within the company, advancing to managerial positions. Similar differences were apparent in the reward systems of the two companies. Under PAMEX, managers‘ salaries were based on their friendships with the owner or the Board of Direct ors of the company. As a result

their salaries were far larger than the USAHP salary structure allowed, given their training, performance and experience. However, one of USAHP‘s first steps raised questions about the fairness of the company‘s reward system. Employees in all cultures view fairness as an important aspect of worker-organization relationships and react negatively to actions that they perceive are unfair. However, the way in which ―fairness‖ is defined varies across cultures, focusing on in-group relationships in Mexico and on ―objective‖ assessments of credentials and performance in the US.

In sum, in the new plant rewards, promotions, and retention were based on objective measures of individual performance. Each of these changes was appropriate given the strategic model on the basis of which USAHP operated. But, for the PAMEX employees, they created uncertainty and ambiguity and directly threatened their job security. To make matters worse, they were imposed by outsiders, who in may ways had carelessly exaggerated their alien status.

In may ways, the Axcalan acquisition provides a textbook case of the kinds of problems that can occur when business operations cross cultural boundaries. In this case, the American firm attempts to introduce change to its newly-acquired Mexican operations, which inevitably engenders resistance.


Exercise 1 listen for the first time and answer the following questions.

1. Why did many staff remaining from the pervious company have fears?

2. How had they been rewarded previously?

3. How were they rewarded after USAHP bought the company?

Exercise 2

listen for the second time and fill in the blanks.

Exercise 3 explore interculturally

1. what can you learn about Mexican culture from the reward system of PAMEX?

From this case, we learn that the Mexican culture is reserved and group-oriented. It pays high attention to group harmony and personal relationship.

2. what can you learn about American culture from the reward system of USAHP?

the American culture is more individualistic, result-oriented, and analytic.

3. how do you explain the phenomenon in this case, applying the theory of the relationship between humans? What cultural differences caused the resistance of the local staff in PAMEX after the acquisition?

because of the strong cultural differences between the American management and the Mexican staff, the change that the American management made was very different to accept for the Mexican staff: it was challenging, and it ignored the fundamental values in human relationship under Mexican circumstances.


1. Comprehension Check

Decide whether the following statements are true or false.

1. verbal communication is more important than nonverbal communication.

2. ―dragon‖ means the same to the Westerners as―龙‖ to the Chinese

3. the Chinese phrase ―知识分子‖ has the same meaning as ―intellectual‖

4. a term in one language may not have a counter part in another language.

5. in referring to animals and birds, the Chinese practice is generally, but not always, to u se ―公‖ Or ―母‖ to show whether a creature is male or female. This is the same with the English language.

6. the following sis English words: vice, associate, assistant, deputy, lieutenant and under can all mean ―副‖ in Chinese


7. there are an many similarities as dissimilarities between English proverbs and Chinese proverbs.

8. violating a cultural taboo is as serious as violating a verbal taboo.

9. patterns of thought vary with culture.

10. particular thought patterns predominate in each culture, e.g. American culture is predominantly factual-inductive, Russian culture is predominantly axiomatic-deductive, and Arab cultures are predominantly intuitive-affective.


1-5 FFFTF 6-10 TTTTT

2. Expression Understanding

Justice has long arms


Diamond cut diamond


Golden saying


Fat office


You will cross the bridge when you get to it.


Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion.


Drink like a fish


Tread upon eggs


3. Cultural Puzzle

What would you do if a stranger pronounced your name incorrectly? First, think about what you would do in your own language and culture, and then what you would do if you were talking in English with an American.

a) You wouldn‘t say anything.

b) You would say, ―excuse me, but my name is ……‖

c) You would not say, ―excuse me‖ you would just say, ―it‘s ……‖


a) No. sometimes it is better not to correct the person right away, especially if he or she is very busy. Also, if other people are present, the person may be embarrassed to find out he or she pronounced your name incorrectly. However, if the person pronounces your name incorrectly more than once, you should tell him or her.

b) Yes, if you want to be polite and formal, it is best to apologize first, and then say your name correctly.

c) Yes, if the situation is informal, you can just say your name correctly without apologizing.