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Language and Culture in Communication

Theory Communication is something we do every day. It takes place so naturally that we simply fail to notice it until it hiccups or breaks down. Though it is commonplace, it is no exaggeration to say that communication is life and life is communication.

1.When you join a social gathering, you must be aware of rules and procedures that govern the way things are going to proceed. There is a technical term for such rules and procedures—schema.

2. Face and politeness are two other areas which are extremely value—sensitive. One of the distinctive features of Chinese politeness is self—denigration and other—elevation.

Case 1:Litz is a professor of cross—cultural communication in a university in Finland. She invited her Chinese students home for an evening party.

The schema from Litz?s point of view includes the following:

1. Giving invitation: by phone / by mail

2. Prepare everything before the arrival of guests

3. Receiving guests: open the door / express welcome / take their overcoats / introduce guests / offer them drinks / make them comfortable

4. Serving food: set the table / soup first / main course / desert

5. Post dinner activities: chat / play music / offer more drinks

6. Seeing guests off: thank them for coming / good night

Litz?s evening party was not very successful, because she was upset by one of her guests. Here was the initial conversation between Litz and Lin:

Litz: (opens the door) Oh, Lin, how nice you could come!

Lin: It?s not difficult to find your house.

Litz: Come on in.

Lin: (comes in)

Litz: Can I take your coat?

Lin: No, thanks.

Litz: Ok, this way please.

Lin: (take off her coat and hangs it)

Analysis: Litz was hurt because Lin did not let her hang her coat. Litz?s offering to hang Lin?s coat is one of Litz?s ways (it?s on Litz?s schema). On Lin?s side, she thought that Litz was her supervisor and that it was inappropriate to let her supervisor hang her coat. Here we have an instance of one action attached with different cultural values.

Case 2:

Finding an Interested Buyer

Georage Hall was in Beijing attending a trade fair and looking for an opportunity to do business in China. He had been very successful in his business dealings in the US and prided himself on his ability “to get things moving.” His first day was going well .He looked around at the displays of sporting equipment to get some idea of

whom he might approach. He was sure that his products, tennis rackets with an unusual new design, would arouse some interests. On the second day he approached the company which he felt would be most responsive to his products. He introduced himself to the general, a Mr. Li. Since he had read that Chinese find getting down to business immediately too abrupt and rude, he began a casual conversation, eventually leading up to the topic of his products and suggesting how Mr. Li?s company might benefit from using them. George then suggested that he could arrange to get together with Mr. Li and provide more specifics and documentation on his products.

Mr. Li responded in fairly good English,” That would be interesting.”

Knowing that he had only a few days left in Beijing, George wanted to nail down a time,” When can we meet?” asked George.

“Ah. This week is very busy,” r eplied Mr. Li.

“It sure is,” said George,” How about 10 o?clock? Meet you here.”

“Tomorrow at 10 o?clock?” asked Mr. Li thoughtfully.

“Right,” said George, “I?ll see you then?”

“Hmm, yes; why don?t you come by tomorrow,” was the reply.

“OK,” responded George,” It was nice meeting you.”

The next day at 10 o?clock he approached Mr. Li?s company?s exhibit only to find that Mr. Li had some important business and was not able to meet with George. He called back later in the day and was told that Mr. Li was not available.


Analysis: 英美人士做事情讲究守时。而中国人不太重视这方面。本案列中,李Case3: Professor Liang has written a book on Chinese culture in Chinese. His book is put on display in Beijing International Book Fair? 96. Professor Liang would like to have his book translated into English and submitted to Thompson Publishers. Professor Liang has asked Li Yan, whom he meets regularly in the English Corner, to help him to talk to Peter Allright, a Thompson representative.

Prof. Liang:奥莱特先生,这是鄙人的拙作。

Li Tan: Mr. Allright, this a clumsy book written by your humble servant.

Mr Allright: No, no, no, you're not my humble servant. We do not publish books in Chinese.

Li Yan (to Professor Liang): 不,不,不,你不是我的仆人,我们不出中文书。Professor Liang: 我要请李艳翻译成英文。

Li Yan (to Mr. Allright): Professor Liang will ask me to translate it into English. Mr. Allright: Mm that?s interesting.

Analysis: Chinese authors almost always belittle their works by describing them as clumsy writings, and they use the same description when they present them to Chinese publishers. But this will be counter—productive in English. Instead, authors should point out the merits of their works rather than “clumsiness”.

Unit 2 Culture Shock

Theory: 1. Culture shock can be described as the feeling of confusion and

disorientation that one experiences when faced with a large number of new and unfamiliar people and situations.

2. There is a desire for independence and separateness, found in foreigners' needs for their own privacy and autonomy

3. Hospitality means the cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests.

4. Politeness refers to the consideration for others, tact, and observance of accepted social usage.

5. Privacy could be understood as the right of an individual to self-determination as to the degree to which the individual is willing to share with others information about himself.

Case 1: Jane, an American teacher in the US, had just started teaching English to a group of Japanese students. She wanted to get to know the students more formally, so she invited them to her house for party. The students all arrived together at exactly 8:00 p.m. They seemed to enjoy the party: they danced, sang, and ate most of the food. At about 10:00 p.m, one of the students said to the teache r, “I think it?s time for me to leave. Thank you very much for the party.” Then all the other students got up to go, and all left at the same time. Jane decided she would never invite them again! Analysis: 在日本以及其他很多的亚洲国家里,年轻人通常成群结队的一起去参加一些社交聚会,然后一道离去。在他们看来这是很正常不过的事。然后Jane 认为这是一种侮辱,因为他们在同一时间里一下子全部离开了。在美国以及其他一些英语国家,晚上10点离开一个聚会相对来说是比较早的。

Case 2:

Four Secretaries and Their Jobs

Four classmates from a top Chinese university all took jobs as secretaries after graduation. Five years later the four former classmates had a reunion and discussed their jobs.

Chen Qi and Dai Yun both work as bilingual secretaries for a Finnish company in Beijing. Chen Qi is secretary to the Finn general manger, and Dai Yun is secretary to the Chinese local manger, a position only slightly lower than that of the Finn manger. Zhang Ying is from a politically prominent family and was hired as the secretary to the leader of a small government bureau in the capital city of her home province. Lu Yan works for a state run enterprise in the same city where she was hired as the secretary to the new manager for international marketing. The company has never marketed its products abroad before so this office and Lu Yan?s position are new to the company.

Five years later Chen Qi is satisfied with her job with the Finnish company but Dai Yun is not. The Finn manager receives orders from the company?s home office in Finland, and he gives orders to those below him in China, including his secretary Chen Qi. He tells her how he wants his time scheduled and she then makes appointments for him according to his instructions. She translates memos and other documents and interprets from Chinese to English to Chinese. If the manager does not

think Chen Qi has done her work well, he tells her right away. He is very demanding, but Chen Qi feels that she knows what her duties are and knows what her manager expects. She is confident that she is doing a good job.

Dai Yun often does not have as much work to do as Chen Qi does, because her boss schedules his own appointments and does a lot of the office paperwork himself. When he is out of town she has time to study for the graduate entrance exam. However, she is not sure whether or not she is doing a good job. Her manager tells her what she is expected to do, but he does this day by day. When people call or come to the office to see her boss, she greets them in English or Chinese as necessary. She receives their memos and other messages as well as their questions and requests and passes them on to her manager. Dai Yun thinks of her job as doing what her manager wants her to do. She pays close attention to his moods and behavior, and sometimes she is able to anticipate what he would like without him telling her.


Case 3: One cold winter day in a Chinese city, Wang Lin on his way to the library met an American professor who knew very little about China. After greeting him, Wang said: “It?s rather cold. You?d better put on more clothes.” But the professor didn?t appear happy on hearing this.

Analysis: 美国人以及大部分西方国家的人们不喜欢被告知要怎么做怎么做,他们比较喜欢独立,然而中国人则习惯关心别人,这个案例中王林的建议表达的就是一种对他人的关心,可是美国教授却不习惯这样的表达。

Case 4: In a good restaurant, fourteen people are gathered to say goodbye to their professor, who is moving to another university.

Steven: May I have your attention please? I?d like to call upon Ben to say a few words.

Ben: Thank you, Steven. Professor Shore, colleagues:

Tonight is one of those paradoxes --- it?s a sad time and yet it?s a happy time. Sad, because.

We are losing one of our best professors; happy because we are pleased to see Professor Shore

gain the recognition that he richly deserves.I?m not sure who will be able to control us and keep us

in line. I think the new professor will have a difficult time. And surely no one will be able to tell

jokes in the same way as you, Professor. Seriously, we all know that you will be difficult to

replace. Your scholarly approach and your dedication will always be remembered.

I would

therefore like to propose a toast. Colleagues, pelase charge your glasses. Professor Shore, may

your future be filled will great success, and may you always remember us. We know we will never

forget you.

To Professor Shore!

All: (Standing up) To Professor Shore! (Everyone drinks. Professor Shore remains seated and

smiles at them all.)


Case 5: An American went to Chinese home. He was offered some tea. Just when the first cup was about to finish, more tea was added. The visitor drank the second cup. Then the cup was filled the third time. Then he drank it, then… until the visitor was quite full. Why?

Analysis: 在中国的传统文化习俗里,主任通常会不断给客人倒水倒茶,或者不断地给客人的盘子里加食物以表示他的热情好客。面对的这样的情况,中国客人知道如何处理,在他们觉得吃饱喝足之后,就会随它放在桌上。而美国客人就不懂了,在美国,在自己的盘子里剩下食物是不礼貌的,于是他出于遵循美国文化理念可能会在这样的招待中吃的过多。

Case 6:

Dinner with Friend

Janice is a young American engineer working for a manufacturing joint venture near Nanjing. She and her husband George, who is teaching English at a university, are learning Chinese and enjoying their new life .They have been eager to get to know Chinese people better so they were pleased when Liu Lingling , Janice?s young co-worker invited them to her home for dinner.

When Janice and George arrived,Lingling introduced them to her husband Yang Feng , asked them to sit down at a table containing 8 plates of various cold dishes, served them tea and then disappeared with her husband into the kitchen. After a few minutes Lingling came back and added water to their tea. Janice offered to help in the kitche n but Lingling said she didn?t need help. She invited the couple to look at their new CD player and their colorful TV and then disappeared again.

A half-hour later she came back and sat down and the three began to eat. Yang Feng came in from time to time to put dish after hot dish on the table. Most of the food was wonderful but neither George nor Janice could eat the fatty pork in pepper sauce or the ea cucumbers, and there was much more than they could eat. They kept wishing Yang Feng would sit down so they could talk to him .Finally he did sit down to eat a bit ,but quickly turned on the TV to show them all its high teching features. Soon it

was time to go home.

George and Janice felt slightly depressed by this experience, but returned the invitation two weeks later. They decided to make a nice American meal and felt lucky to find olives, tomato juice, crackers and as appetizers. For the main course they prepared spaghetti and a salad with dressing made from oil, vinegar, and some spices they found in the market.

When Liu Lingling and Yang Feng arrived they were impressed by the apartment and asked the price of the TV, video player, vacuum cleaner and other things. Janice politely refused to answer their questions. They took small tastes of the appetizers and seemed surprised when both George and Janice sat down with them. They ate only a little spaghetti and did not finish the salad on their plates. George urged them to eat more but they refused and looked around expectantly. Junice and George talked about their families and jobs and asked the table and served coffee and pastries. Yang Feng and Lingling each put four spoons of sugars into their coffee but did not drink much of it and ate only a bite or two of pastry.

After they left, George said that at least they had a chance to talk, but Janice was upset. “We left their place so full that we couldn?t walk and they?re going to have to eat again when they get home. What went wrong?


Case 7: After the meal and after the table has been cleared. Liu is not sure what to do, but wants to help in some way. At least he wants to offer.

Helen: Thanks for your help, Huang.

Liu: Pleasure. What can I do now?

Helen: Nothing. It?s fine. I?ll rinse these dishes then stack them. It?ll only take a minute.

Liu: Does the family usually help?

Helen: Well, at special times. Jack sometimes rinses the dishes but you can see he?s really tired tonight.

Liu: Let me do it for you.

Helen: No truly, it?s okay.

Liu: Maybe I can wipe the table then.

Helen: That would be helpful. Thanks. You?re really kind, Huang.


Case 8: Two strangers have been chatting.

A: So you?re been here for a year?

B: Yes. One more year to go, then I?ll go back to ch ina.

A: What will you do back home?

B: It?s hard to know. There?s a lot change at the moment.

A: Yeah. Everything is changing, everywhere. Sometimes it?s difficult to keep up. B: That?s true. Maybe I?ll…

(A?s mobile phone rings.)

A: Excuse me, I?d better answer this. It?s probably work.

B: Sure. Take your time.



Case 9: Liu Huang is calling his friend Steven at his home.

Person: Hello. John is speaking.

Liu: He llo? I?m looking for Steven.

Person: Sorry, there?s no one here called Steven.

Liu: Is that 6577 8868?

Person: No. I think you?ve got the wrong number. This is 6578 8868.

Liu: Oh, I?m sorry.

Person: No problem. Good luck.

Liu: Thanks.


Case 10: Lin: Thank you so much for a wonderful night. I?ve had a great time. Erica: It?s been a pleasure having you. We hope you can come again, soon.

Lin: I?d like that. You both know how to make me feel at home. Thanks for everything.


Case 11:

Off to a Bad Start

David Hu had just started working for the foreign owned company. He was sitting at his workstation but had not been given any assignment that he should be doing at this moment. He was relaxing and waiting and then thought he would take the opportunity to have a look around. He poked his head into several offices just to see what there was to be seen.

Suddenly Mr. Parker came up to him and angrily asked him what he was doing. David Hu was embarrassed. He laughed and quickly started to move back toward his workstation. This did not seem to satisfy Mr. Parker who started to talk rapidly and angrily. Hoping to calm him down, Mr.Hu smiled and apologized, trying to explain

that he was trying to learn more about the department. However, Mr. Parker got even angrier. Finally, another worker came by and calmed him down, but Mr. Parker left, he still looked angry. Mr.Hu sighed; he knew he had ma de a bad start but still didn?t understand why.


Case 12:

Sharing the Wealth

Anna Bilow had been working for a Chinese-owned and operated company in Nanjing for about six months. The division she was working in had a small collection of Chinese-English dictionaries, English language reference books, and some videos in English including a couple of training films and several feature films that Anna had brought at her new employer?s request when she came from Europe. Ann a knew that some of the other sections had similar collections. She had sometimes used her friendship with one of the women in another department, Gu Ming, to borrow English novels and reference books and in turn had let Gu Ming borrow books from her secti on?s collection. On other occasions, she had seen friendly, noisy exchanges, where one of the other workers in her division had lent a book or video to a colleague from another section.

Anna thought it was a great idea when a memo was circulated saying that the company?s leaders had decided to collect all the English language materials together into a single collection. The plan was to put them in a small room that was currently being used for storage so that all employees could have equal access to them. Now she would no longer have to go from department to department trying to find the materials she needed.

Anna was surprised to hear her co-workers complaining about the new policy. When the young man in charge came to the department to collect their English language materials, she was astounded to see them hiding most of the books and all but one of the videos in their desks. When she checked out the new so-called collection, she found that the few items were all outdated or somehow damaged. She also noticed that none of the materials she had borrowed from Gu Ming were in the collection. She asked her friend why the Chinese were unwilling to share their English language materials with all their co-workers, when they seemed willing to share them within their departments.

Analysis: 西方人对隐私方面有许多禁忌,中国人对自我隐私的保护也十分注重,但是两者之间存在较大差别。西方人乐于将自己的书籍和整理的资料拿出来让朋友和同事共享,而在中国,即便是朋友间,人们也不愿意与人共享自己的书籍和资料。由于这种资料共享的观念不同,案例中Anna才会难以理解顾明等同事将自己的资料,书籍藏起来的做法。

Unit 3 What?s in a Name?

Theory: 1. Chinese and British people call each other with titles in different ways.

2. Kin terms are used in family members, but it differs between westerns and Chinese people.

Case 1: A British tourist is traveling by train in China. Sitting opposite him is a Chinese passenger. They introduce themselves to each other…

British tourist: Hello, I?m Eric Jackson. Glad to meet you.

Chinese passenger: Hello, my name is Liu Xin. I?m glad to meet you, too. Where do you come from, Mr. Eric?

British tourist: I?m from Britain. Please just call me Eric, Mr. Xin.

Chinese passenger: And you may just call me Liu Xin.

Analysis: Both of them have taken each other?s given name for the surname, since the order of the surnames of Chinese and English names are just the opposite. As in both cultures a title is usually used with the surname, they feel unnatural when their given names are used with the titles. According to British custom it?s quite normal for persons who first meet to address each other by their given names alone, whereas here, when people first meet, they usually address each other by their full names and never by their given names alone.

Case 2: A British tourist is visiting a Chinese family. The Chinese hostess introduces herself and her husband to guest…

Chinese hostess: Welcome to my home. My name is Cai Hong, and this is my husband.

British tourist: Thank you, Mrs. Cai. It?s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Cai. I?m Lucy Taylor.

Chinese hostess: Have a seat, Madam Lucy.

Analysis: The British tourist thinks that Cai Hong?s surname is her husband?s surname, since she is unaware of the fact that in China women still use their own surname after marriage. Cai Hong thinks that …madam? is a respectful term of address for any female English-speaker, unaware of the fact that in Britain it is usually used by someone who is providing a service such as a shop assistant to a customer or a policeman to a member of the public as in …Can I help you, madam?? It is never used as a title before someone?s name. She also mistakes the given name for the surname.

Case 3: Lin Mei is a Chinese student who is now studying at a university in America. Her seven-year-old daughter Jiajia is with her and studies in a primary school. They have been in America for three years. Wang Xiaohong is a Chinese visiting scholar at the same university as Lin Mei and the two get on well with each other. Wang Xiaohong sometimes feels lonely since she has been in America for only two months, so she sometimes visits Lin Mei?s family. One day she came to visit them. Below is their conversation.

Wang Xiaohong: 佳佳,你妈妈在家吗?

Jiajia: 在。妈妈,小红阿姨找你。

Lin Mei: 王老师您来啦,请坐。我女儿真不懂礼貌。佳佳,以后要叫王阿姨。Analysis: The combination of the term of address Xiaohong Ayi (given name + Auntie)

reflects the mixture of the two cultures. On the one hand we have the extended use of kin terms preceded by a person?s name, conventionally surname, e.g. Wang + Auntie, in Chinese culture. On the other we have the conventional use of kin terms followed by given names e.g. Auntie + Xiaohong, in the culture of English—speaking countries. In other words, it shows the combination of Chinese sequence, i.e. name + kin term and English use of given name. Since Jiajia has lived in America for three years, she must have been strongly influenced by the foreign culture despite the influence of Chinese culture from her mother and other Chinese. So from Jiajia?s point of view it is appropriate and polite to call Wang Xiaohong Xiaohong Ayi. However, Lin Mei, as an adult, still sticks to the Chinese culture when dealing with a Chinese who came to America only recently; and according to Chinese culture, it is impolite for child to address an adult by using his or her given name.

Unit 4 Social Interaction

Theory: Social interaction is one of the most common interactions between people. Cultural differences can lead to difficulties when foreigners and Chinese meet. Such differences can cause misunderstanding, unsatisfactory interaction and even unpleasant physical reactions. Different expectations exist, governing what is considered appropriate, polite and respectful. Expectation can also differ regarding privacy, and the directness and indirectness with which people should express themselves.

Case1: Erica goes to a small dinner party to which she and a friend have been invited. Her host, Mrs. Penny meets them at the door of her home.

Penny: Hello, Erica. Welcome. Please come in.

Erica: Thank you. John, I?d like to introduce Mrs. Penny Roberts. Penny, this is my friend John Pernot.

Penny: Hello, John. Welcome.

John: Hello, Mrs. Roberts.

Penny: Please call me Penny. Now do come inside and sit down.


Case2: Erica: Professor Honda, may I introduce my classmate Steven Jacobs. Steven, this is my professor of literature.

Prof: Nice to meet you, Steven.

Steven: Thank you. It?s a pleasure to mee t you, Professor Honda. Etica has talked a lot about you.

Porf: All good, I hope.


Case 3: When my wife introduced me to a tourist from Canada, I shook hands with him and used my business card. And he seemed embarrassed.


Case 4: A Frenchman took part in a party; the host didn?t introduce him to others. But the Frenchman chatted with one of the guests. The others became angry.


Case 5: When Lin met a lady from America, he didn?t know whether he should shake hands with her or not, but having taken politeness into consideration, he reached out his hand.


Case 6:

Erica: Hello! Thank for coming. Here, let me take your coat.

Lin: Hello. Thanks. Here?s some wine for you.

Erica: That?s lovely. You really shouldn?t have, Lin. Thank you. Let?s go in and meet the others.


Case 7:

Two colleagues are at work.

Karen: What are you doing for Christmas?

Li: Some friends have invited me to stay with them over Christmas.

Karen: That?s great! I guess you?ll experience a western-style Christmas then?

Li: Yeah. It?s good, isn?t it? Maybe you can help. I?d like to take something but I?m not sure what.

Karen: Do your friends have any children?

Li: Mmmm. Two, I think. One?s 6 and the other?s a little younger, I think. Karen: Well you can?t go wrong if you take a gift for each of them. Wrap them up and put them under the Christmas tree.

Li: Such as?

Karen: Maybe a box of Christmas candy.

Li: That?s a great idea!

Karen: Well, I have to go now, Li. Merry Christmas.

Li: Merry Christmas to you, Karen. Thanks for your help.



Case 8:

Erica: Lin, do have some more dessert.

Lin: Thank you, but I?m afraid I?ve had enough. It?s wonderful.


Case 9:

Linhua has accompanied an American delegation to visit China. They have experienced the hospitality of the Chinese people. After returning to America, Linhua once visited them. They were so glad to meet again. Linhua offered to host the meal, but they refused. They ordered their own dish, and Linhua ordered her own. When footing the bill, they only paid their part, and no one wanted to pay for Linhua. Linhua found them so inhospitable, though she knew the Americans would usually pay for their own food.


Case 10:

A famous Chinese actress married a German. One day when she was acting, her husband was there watching, saying again and again that she was the best actress. The actress? colleagues present asked her afterwards to tell her husband not to praise his own wife like that in public. On learning this, the German wondered what he did wrong.

Once the actress and her husband were talking with their Chinese friends at a party, her husband politely praised a Chinese lady on her beauty. The lady? husband said that his wife was moderately good looking when young, but now she was old and no longer so. The lady nodded in agreement with a smile. The actress? husband was surprised.


Unit 5 Role and Relationships

Theory: There are different expectations towards different roles between males and females, parents and children, and among friends in different cultures. For instance, different values in child-rearing, family relationship, friendship and so on.

Case 1:

The Entrepreneur

Charles was excited about his new promotion and transfer to China .He had done well in the marketing department of his company and had been promoted to assist the director of marketing at the company?s recently established operations in Shanghai. HE had studied a bit about Chinese, but so far had worked only in the United States and had little experience with Chinese individuals or culture. In the two months before relocating, Charles often went to the local university library to try to absorb all he could about China, its culture, and the ways of doing business. In addition, his company provided a week-long culture seminar just prior to his departure.

After arriving in Shanghai, Charles found that his work was exciting and that marketing to the Chinese was a new challenge .During his culture seminar he had learned several concepts that were important in the Chinese business environment such as the concept of guanxi .HE had also learned about individualism .He felt he understood these concepts and was sure he would learn more.

Because the marketing director had two assistants, Charles worked closely with Dashan, his Chinese was counterpart .Charles learned that Dashan came from a fairy influential family in the area. Dashan was quite motivated and worked very hard .to Charles it seemed tha t Dashan was quite “individualistic” as he worked hard for bonuses, was always going the extra mile, and had set a number of work related goals for himself.

After a few months, Dashan left the company to start a venture of his own .Charles kept in touch wi th him and noticed that Dashan?s business was doing very well. One weekend, Dashan invited Charles for dinner .Many of Dashan?s relatives were present as well as some friends whom Charles had not met .Charels found that Dashan?s house was quite nice and equipped with many big-ticket consumer items ,such as a personal computer ,air-conditioning, and modern kitchen appliances ,Charles also learned that Dashan had recently bought a new car for his parents .It was clear that Dashan?s business was very profitabl e and successful .Dashan was managing it himself and already had 40 or 50 employees .It seemed to Charles that Dashan was doing quite a good job of being “individualistic.”

Analysis: 中西方人们对父母和孩子之间关系的理解有一定区别。案例中,大山对工作努力、拿奖金、跳槽、装修房子、给父母买新车等都被Charles视为个人主义很强,为了得到自己的利益才努力工作等。而在中国人眼里,给父母买房子,买车,努力工作以让自己父母过上好日子都是孝顺的表现。

Case 2:

What is True Friendship?

Yang Ruifang worked as a secretary in an Australian company in Melbourne. She became friendly with one of the Australian secretaries , a woman named Cathy Lane .The two usually ate lunch together and Yang Ruifang often asked Cathy for advice on problems she she faced adjusting to Australian society. Cathy gave her a lot of advice and helped her move from one apartment to another. Cathy went with Yang Ruifang to the Immigration Bureau several times to help sort out some problem. Yang Ruifang visited Cathy several times at home but did not invite Cathy to her apartment because she shared it with four other people .If they did not see each other over the

weekend , they usually talked on the telephone. As Yang Ruifang was also preparing to take an English test, she was able to get a lot of help with English in this way.

However, something seemed to be going wrong. Cathy seemed to be getting impatient, even a little cold .She started going out by herself at lunchtime instead of eating with Yang, and seemed reluctant to answer questions. Yang Ruifang was puzzled. She couldn?t imagine the problem was.

Analysis: 中西方文化差异中,友谊的定义也是不同的,中国人觉得真正的朋友就应该非常随便,每天形影不离,一起吃饭,一起购物,在自己很无聊或是心情不好的时候随时都可以好朋友聊聊天,搬家的时候叫上朋友一起帮忙,案例中的瑞芳就是这样对待他的秘书Cathy而使Cathy感觉不自在。因为在西方国家,人们对友谊的定义与中国不同,在他们看来,无论是多么亲密的朋友都应该先约好,并且应该有自己的私人空间。

Case 3:

Are You Mad at Me?

Jeff was pleased to have been assigned an international student as his roommate in his second year at a small liberal arts college in the US. Ji Bing was an easy-going guy, a good listener, warm-hearted, and always ready for a new experience. He appreciated Jeff?s explanations of American life and unfamiliar language. Jeff didn?t think Ji Bing was any more difficult to get along with than the American roommate he had the year before, except that he seemed to want to study more than Jeff was used to and he sometimes borrowed Jeff?s things without asking first.

One night Jeff was working on a project that required some artwork. Ji bing was at his desk studying for a test. Jeff?s scissors were just too dull to do the job, so he asked Ji bing, “Sorry to bother you while you?re studyin g, but could I use your scissors for a while?”

Ji Bing said, “Sure, “opened his desk drawer and handed Jeff the scissors. “Thanks, thanks a lot,” Jeff said. A few minutes later Jeff decided that his roommate again; “Sorry to bug your again, but these crayo ns make this look like kindergarten. You know those colored pencils you have? Would it be OK if I used them for my project?”Ji Bing got up and got them off the shelf and said, “Help yourself,” and went back to reading as Jeff thanked him.

After another fe w minutes Jeff said, “I must be driving you crazy, but have you got any glue or tape? Promise I?ll buy you another roll.”

Ji bing handed Jeff a role of tape that was on his desk saying, “Use as much as you want. I don?t need it.” “Appreciate it,” mumbled J eff as he went back to his project.

Ji Bing went back to his reading. As Jeff was finishing his project he noticed that Ji Bing was watching him. He looked up and was surprised to hear his Chinese roommate ask him in a plaintive tone, “Are you angry at me?”

“Of course not,” Jeff replied, “What makes you think that?”

Analysis: 中西方文化中,好朋友之间的交谈用语也有差别。在我们看来,向好朋友借用东西是不需要用很客气或正式的语言甚至是不需要打招呼,如果好朋友间用很客气的语言借用或是询问某事的话,会认为是见外,或者是生了对方了的气。而在西方国家,即便是再亲密的朋友,借用东西都要用很正式很客气的语言。

Unit 6 Non-verbal Communication

Theory: Non-verbal communication deals with how we communicate without words and how the effectiveness of what we say can be helped or hindered by the various non-verbal message our bodies send. When we communicate with people from other cultures, our body language sometimes helps make the communication easier and more effective, such as by shaking hands when greeting others. This has become such a universal gesture that people all over the world know that it is a signal for greeting.

Case 1:

In a Chinese classroom a girl was asked to answer a question. She stood up and smiled, without making any sound.

When an American is parking his bicycle and the bicycle accidentally falls over, he feels embarrassed at his awkwardness, and his quite angered and humiliated when Chinese onlookers laugh.

In the dining room, when an American drops a plate quite by accident and feels bad, and Chinese onlookers laugh, compounding his discomfort and causing anger and bad feeling.


Case 2:

One Japanese student in America said: “On my way to school, a girl whom I don?t know smiled at me several times. I was a little surprised.”

An Arab student in America said: “When I was walking on the campus the first day, many people smiled at me, which made me quite ashamed. I hurried to the bathroom to see if anything was wrong with my c lothes. Now I?m used to all smiles. Analysis:在日本学生这个例子中,因为在日本文化中,女孩一般不和陌生人微笑,更不用说陌生男子了。但是在美国微笑并没有什么特别的含义,他所表达的纯粹就是一种友好的意思。人们也通常会对陌生人微笑以表示他们的友好。Case 3:

In India, there are elaborate rules about how closely members of each caste may approach other castes, and Arabs of the same sex do stand much closer than North Americans. North Americans in an elevator maintain personal space if the physical space permits it. An Arab entering an elevator may stand right next to another person and be touching even though no one else is in the elevator.


Case 4:

Too Close for Comfort

Bill had just arrived from the United States to study engineering at a Chinese university .He studies Chinese back at his home university and was confident that doing his graduate study at a Chinese university would give hi an edge in talking advantage of future opportunities in the growing Chinese economy .

In the first few days he met and moved in with his roommate Zemin and met several of the students who lived in nearby dormitory rooms .Most of them were also studying engineering but had little experience with Americans .He usually went to the student cafeteria with them and they were very helpful in showing him around and in gently correcting his classroom Chinese.

One evening he settled in for his first study session in his room .After a time Zemin left to visit another room where friends were listening to a radio broadcast .Bill said he would join him later .When Bill decided to take a break and see what the “guys” were up to ,he found Zemin and two other boys huddled over the radio .Bill found it quite odd ,however ,that Zemin was draped over the back of the boy seated in front of the radio .Moreover ,that boy had his fact propped up on his roommate who was seated nearby .it seemed to Bill that he had startled then ,since they jumped up and welcomed him and even offered him tea After Bill had a cup of tea and a chair to sit in ,the group returned to the radio .

Bill shrugged the incident off, but over the next few days noticed that female students on campus frequently walked arm-in-arm or even holding hands .He noticed, too, that students of both sexes, but especially the boys, would huddle around newspaper displays in a fashion of close contact similar to Zemin and others around the radio .Bill felt rather uncomfortable and wondered how he would respond if one of his classmates were to put his arms around him.


Unit 7 In Other Words

Theory: In avoidance of using the same pattern to describe the same thing, westerns and Chinese have different words of saying the same thing. Therefore, there are many synonyms in each language. On one hand, language plays a very important role in culture since much of the culture is created, maintained an expressed through language. On the other hand, language is influenced and shaped by culture. In this case, the idioms, proverbs, slang, euphemisms and taboo words are produced.

Case 1:

Practicing English

One night a Chinese student majoring in English sat on the steps of the foreign stud ents? residence and talked with two young male foreign students, one German and one American. They did not speak a word to her on their own initiative, but she asked many questions to get a conversation started. Every time they answered her with only one or two words. But she was determined to practice her English so she tried to keep the conversation going.

“How do you spend your weekend?” she asked.

The German boy answered immediately, “Fishing,” and the two boys looked at each other meaningfully.

“Fishing?” She was really confused. “But where do you fish?” she asked.

“Fishing has two meaning. One is the literal meaning. The other is just sitting here or walking on the street and waiting for some girls to come up to us.” Then they both burst out laughing.

She was annoyed. She sat there silently and then suddenly stood up and walked away without saying goodbye.

Analysis:某些英语词汇在英美国家有特殊的含义,如本案列中,“fishing” 一词除钓鱼之外,还有在街头物色漂亮女孩的意思。如果不理解两个含义,在交际中容易发生误解。

Case 2:

Xie Li and Tom have been working on a scientific experiment at a British university for some months. It has not been totally successful. They are discussing the situation in the laboratory.

Xie Li: I don?t know where it went wrong!

Tom: Don?t feel so bad. Cheer up; you?ve done your job.

Xie Li: But our experiment has turned out to be a failure.

Tom: Relax for a couple of days. I?ll face the music.

Xie Li: Tom, we are not playing children?s games here. This is a scientific experiment. Tom: I?ve never taken the experiment as child?s play, and I?m playing the game.

Xie Li: You say you?re playing the game! It?s a rather important experiment!

Xie Li walks out of the laboratory angrily. Tom is puzzled.

Analysis:俗语、成语等具有很强的文化内涵,经常会让非母语者产生困扰。在本案例中,谢力错解了Tom使用的两个俗语(face the music 和playing the game),导致交际失败。

Unit 8 From a Primitive Tribe to a Global Village

Theory: Human communication developed from original communication ways to hi-tech communication language. With the rapid development, people become more adaptable in our global village.

Case 1:

Li Ping is calling his colleague and friend Tony. Tony lives in the student dormitory.

Someone else answers the phone.

Student: Hi, Student Dormitory.

Li: Hello. I?d like to speak to Tony please.

Student: Okay, just a moment. I?ll see if he?s in.

Li: Thanks.

Student: He?s on his way. Won?t be long.

Li: Thanks for your help.

Tony: Hello? Tony is here.

Li: Hello, it?s Li Ping.

Tony: Hi. Is everything okay?

Li: Yes, fine. I wanted to call you to see if you?d like to come over for dinner tonight. I?m cook ing a Chinese meal.

Tony: That?s fine. By the way, how is your major essay coming along? Have you finished all the reading?

Li: Almost. I have to finish the reading by next Sunday. Then I can start writing the essay. What about you?

Tony: Still plowing my way through.

Li: Well maybe we can share some ideas over dinner.

Tony: Good idea.

Li: Well, I?d better go. I?ve got lots to do.

Tony: Okay. I?ll see you tonight at 6. I?ll bring something to drink.

Li: See you then. Bye.

Tony: See you.


Case 2:

Can We Talk About It?

Linda Carmichael lives in a Canadian city with her two-year-old adopted Chinese daughter Ming. Linda is a busy professional woman and a single parent who wants her daughter to speak Chinese and know the culture she was born into. For this reason Linda invites new Chinese immigrants to live in a spare bedroom in her house. She always interviews prospective housemates before they move in. She wants to avoid any misunderstandings by making her expectations clear, and she wants everyone who lives in the house to benefit .Among other things, she wants to see how Ming likes any new person who might live with them. She expects a new resident in her home to agree to share housework and to speak Chinese to Ming. In exchange Linda agrees to help with English and any other problems the newly arrived immigrant might face in adapting to life in Canada.

Linda liked 32-year-old Jiang Yumei, an engineer from northeast China, immediately

when she came for her interview, and so did Ming. Jiang Yumei thought this would be an ideal place to spend the six months she had to wait until her husband and 4-year-old son could join her. They lived with Jiang Yumei?s parents, where she and her husband had lived since they married. She had never lived apart from her parents except to be able to live with a family. She readily agreed to everything Linda said during the interview.

After a few weeks Linda noticed that Jiang Yumei seldom did any housework. She did not even clean up after herself, so Linda had more housework than before Jiang Yumei moved in. Linda helped JiangYumei with English and job applications, and practiced job interview with her. At the same time Jiang Yumei did not seem to spend much time with Ming.

Linda gave Jiang Yumei some lightened reminders such as joking about how she hates housework or saying,”Ming, tell me what you did this afternoon.”

This did not produce any positive result, so Linda decided to discuss the problem directly. One evening at the kitchen table Lina said, “I think we have some crossed lines of communication. Understood that we had a certain agreement between us, but you obviously understood something different .Can we talk about it?”

Jiang Yumei was silent and stared at the table.

Linda tried again, “I hoped you would spend more time with Ming, You two got along so well at first. She likes you and is disppointed that you don?t play with her.”Jiang Yumei did not say anything. She did not look at Linda. Her body stiffened, her face turned red, and she stared at the floor.

Linda tried again, “I?m not angry, just confused, tell me what you?re thinking, I want to understand your point of view.”

More silence.

Finally Linda could not tolerate Jiang Yumei?s silence any longer. She was angry when she said, “You know, in this culture it?s very rude to stay silent when someone is try ing wery hard to resolve a misunderstanding.”

The next day Linda went to see her friend Liu Qian, who had lived in Canada for over a year. Liu listened to Linda?s story and said, “She?s angry!” This was a surprise to Linda.

“What is she angry about? Why won?t she talk to me?”

Linda never found out. Jiang Yumei moved out soon after.


Case 3:

Wang Hao is new to the university and has decided to go the Orientation Week to find out about joining a sports club.

Wang: Excuse me; your sign says that this is the information booth about the university tennis club.

Susan: That?s right. Can I help you?

Wang: Maybe…I?m new here and I?m not sure about some things. Can any student