Vol 19, No 4 (2015)


Too Many Walls and not Enough Bridges: the Importance of Intercultural Communication Studies

Larina T.V., Leontovich O.A.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):9-16
pages 9-16 views

Structure-Interaction Theory: Conceptual, Contextual and Strategic Influences on Human Communication

Beebe S.A.


This paper addresses Structure-Interaction Theory (SIT), a theoretical framework that both describes communication messages as well as assists in making predictions about how human communication can be improved based on listener preferences for message structure or interaction. Communication messages may be characterized as existing on a continuum of structure-interaction. Communication structure is the inherent way information in a message is organized. A highly structured message is one in which the message is strategically organized using a planned arrangement of symbols to create meaning. Communication interaction is a way of viewing a message with give-and-take, less sustained “notes,” more change in note sequence and briefer notes. SIT seeks to provide a framework to assist communicators in appropriately adapting a message for maximum effectiveness. Although Structure-Interaction Theory newly articulated here, it is anchored in both classic ways of describing communication, such as rhetoric and dialectic (Aristotle, 1959), as well as more contemporary communication theories (Salem, 2012; Littlejohn & Foss, 2008). Specifically, the paper provides an overview of the theory and its conceptual assumptions, identifies how the theory can help explain and predict communication in several communication contexts (interpersonal, group, public communication), and suggests how SIT may help identify strategies to enhance human development. Structure-Interaction Theory is based on an assumption that a human communication message which is understood, achieves the intended effect of the communicator, and is ethical, requires an appropriate balance of two things: structure and interaction. Communication structure is the inherent way a message is constructed to provide a sustained direction to present information to another person. In linking structure and interaction to Aristotle’s description of messages, rhetoric is a more structured, sustained speech or planned message. Dialectic is characterized by a more spontaneous give and take interaction of messages and response to messages. SIT posits that all communication can be placed on a continuum of structure-interaction. The paper identifies applications of SIT to several communication situations and presents communication strategies that can enhance human development. The paper also notes how SIT can be used to develop message strategies to adapt to audience preferences for structure and interaction based on culture and audience expectations. Considering the needs, interests, values (including cultural values) of the audience, is the prime determinant of the degree of structure or interaction that should be evident in a communication episode. Appropriately applied, SIT may help both describe the nature of messages (as structured or interactive) as well as assist in making predictions as to how applications of the structure-interaction message continuum may enhance communication effectiveness.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):17-32
pages 17-32 views

Intercultural Communication as a Situated, Culturally Complex, Interactional Achievement

Carbaugh D.


The field of intercultural communication includes a variety of productive theoretical approaches as well as different methodological commitments. Some studies are built on the basis of self-report measures, aggregate tendencies, and/or resulting scores within and across national populations. This article focuses on a different kind of empirical study that is based upon careful observations of actual intercultural interactions and interpretations which honor the participants’ views of those interactions. The article first diagrams the process of intercultural communication as a situated, cultural accomplishment. Next, distinct and complementary modes of analyses for phases of such study are presented. Finally, specific goals and eventual insights are discussed.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):33-42
pages 33-42 views

Contradictions of International Communication in the Era of Globalization: Obstacles or Driving Forces?

Ter-Minasova S.G.


Contradictions are supposed to be the basis of human development process. The paper deals with the contradictions and paradoxes in a most important sphere of human activity: international communication. Different kinds of contradictions are to be discussed: general ones shared internationally, i.e. concerning every nation, language and culture as well as those which are specific to present-day Russia.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):43-48
pages 43-48 views

Cognitive Dissonance from the Intercultural Communication Perspective

Leontovich O.A.


The aim of the paper is to investigate the reasons, types, and effects of cognitive dissonance with regard to intercultural communication. Cognitive dissonance can be caused by the discrepancy between the ways of categorizing and conceptualizing reality through the prism of different languages and cultures. The harmonization of mindsets and the way out of cognitive dissonance are based on the mechanisms of understanding and interaction with representatives of an alien culture in order to overcome communication breakdowns. A high level of intercultural competence requires the ability to identify the reasons for cognitive dissonance and ways to bridge intercultural differences. Interpreters, translators, and intercultural communication specialists should take the possibility of cognitive dissonance into account in their professional activities.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):49-56
pages 49-56 views

Grammatical Structures in Cross-Cultural Comparisons

Gladkova A.N.


The article discusses how cultural information is embedded at the level of grammar and it treats grammar as inseparable from semantics and pragmatics. The study is done within the approach known as ethnosyntax. The article provides examples of cultural meaning embedded at the level of syntax relying on examples from Russian and English. In particular, it demonstrates variation in impersonal constructions in Russian and causative constructions in English. It then discusses variation in the use of grammatical structures due to the influence of cultural factors on the basis of ways of wording ‘requests’ in English and Russian. The linguistic examples in the discussion are sources from the Russian National Corpus for Russian and Collins Wordbanks Online for English. The article argues for the importance of culture-sensitive linguistic studies in language teaching.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):57-68
pages 57-68 views

Finnish-Russian Relationships: the Interplay of Economics, History, Psychology and Language

Mustajoki A., Protassova E.Y.


On the territories adjacent to the core Russia, the Russian language has had for centuries an established position as a language of culture, trade, war, statehood, and education. The theoretical framework of the study reflects the field of cross-cultural communication, with special reference to Finnish-Russian intercultural encounters. There is a certain set of prejudices connected with Russia that date back centuries and are periodically revived. Recent events have reinforced some of them, and have enhanced the demand for experts on Russia and everything connected with it. The language is undoubtedly considered the key to understanding what is happening with Finland’s Eastern neighbour. The article aims to present the current discussions in the media, their meanings and functions.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):69-81
pages 69-81 views

Language Choice in Expressing Anger among Arab-English Londoners

Dewaele J., Qaddourah I.


The aim of the present study is to partially replicate the study in Dewaele (2013). We want to determine whether the independent variables linked to the preference of the first (L1) or second language (L2) for the communication of anger among a large heterogeneous group of long-time multilinguals from all over the world (Dewaele 2013) have similar effects in one relatively homogeneous linguistic and cultural group, namely 110 English-speaking Arabs living in London (UK). The analysis of quantitative and qualitative data showed that, in line with the findings in Dewaele (2013), L1 Arabic was preferred over L2 English for expressing anger at oneself, family, friends and at strangers. However, English was preferred to express anger in writing and occasionally in instances of divergence with Arabic-speaking interlocutors (Sachdev, Giles &Pauwels 2013). Frequency of use of English for anger was linked to lower age of onset of L2 learning, naturalistic or mixed L2 learning context, frequency of general use of the L2 and degree of L2 socialization and higher perceived emotionality of English. Gender, age and education were also linked to language choices. Participants explained how their religious beliefs, their cultural and ideological background affect their choice of language for expressing anger.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):82-100
pages 82-100 views

Intercultural Communication and Disabilities from a Communication Complex Perspective

Parrish-Sprowl J.


Intercultural communication presents a number of challenges that are less of an issue in same-culture interactions. This is important because travel and technological capability enable more and more immigrants, business people, tourists, etc. to engage in such interactions. One group of people that comprises 10% of the world population, the disabled, is increasingly being mainstreamed within cultures as well as traveling to other countries. Research finds that the disabled are often marginalized and discriminated against within their own country. When the abled enter an intercultural interaction with the disabled the communication challenges are even greater. Communication Complex, a metatheoretical perspective on communication that embraces a constitutive definition of communication combined with a neuroscience understanding of interaction, offers a deeper, yet highly practical explanation of the level of complexity that such an encounter entails. This article offers a brief introduction to this way of understanding intercultural communication, along with the suggestion that future studies and practical guides should take disabilities into account when analyzing or building skills.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):101-110
pages 101-110 views

Facework in Non-Face-Threatening Emails by Native and Non-Native English Speakers

Eslami Zohreh R -., Wei-Hong KO -.


The aim of this research is to investigate the speech act of assignment submission and presence of facework in submission emails sent to faculty members by native and nonnative English speaking graduate students. Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory (1987) and Spencer-Oatey’s (2002, 2008) rapport management framework were utilized to analyze the emails. The corpus consisted of 105 emails from 40 NES and NNES students. Drawing on speech event analysis approach (Merrison, Wilson, Davies, & Haugh, 2012), we analyze both submission head act as well as optional elements like openings, small talk and closings in an email. Our exploratory study revealed that, contrary to the argument that CMC is a lean medium (Duthler, 2006) in which it is difficult to achieve interpersonal communication, through the employment of opening, small talk and closing strategies, students attended to relational goals in their email communication.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):111-126
pages 111-126 views

Ways of Expressing Apologies and Thanks in French and Japanese Personal Emails: a Comparison of Politeness

Chantal Claudel ( -.


This article examines the ways in which politeness is used in French and Japanese personal emails (i.e. from one person to another). The data for the study consist of 411 emails from both communities and regrouped by criteria such as the correspondents’ gender, age and relationship (close vs distant; hierarchical vs equal). Two widely studied acts, very present in the French and Japanese data, namely thanking and apologising, are analysed. First of all, the notion of politeness is examined as it is understood in French and Japanese cultures, followed by a discussion of the positioning adopted by the various established approaches to this notion. This leads us to reconsider the concept of face as it is understood in Europe and Asia, the notion of discernment (Ide) and the theory of the territory of information (Kamio), as well as to re-examine the approach of politeness in the light of recent research findings. Following this overview, the paper proposes a framework where a distinction between politeness and civility is advocated. In this perspective, the means used to express politeness ( politeness in its broader meaning) are based on personal choices: either due to politeness (in a specific meaning) or according to social obligations ascribable to civility. More specifically, politeness (in it specific meaning) in one side is linked to personal choice. In French for instance, this can result from language used: formal language vs common language ( convier vs inviter ); verbal choices (conditional verbs instead of indicative tenses: je voudrais vs je veux ); syntax (inversion of the subject or not in questions), etc. In Japanese, politeness can be detected through the choice to use of the suffix desu ( kawaii desu ( it is cute )) when neutral or common language could be suitable ( kawaii ( it is cute )). In the other side, civility refers to the obligation to respect social norms. In French, the speaker may have to use the pronoun of address vous (vs tu ) as required by his and the hearer position, status, rank, etc. while his Japanese counterpart may have to use forms of humility or deference. The two visions embrace the Western and Asian conception of politeness: they complement each other. Furthermore, the impact of electronic devices on the evolution of writing practices is considered, with particular regard to the function of politeness discursive configurations such as apologies and thanks, and compared to another genre like letters. Thus the analysis of the writing styles shows the kind of patterns of linguistic behaviour chosen by cyberwriters of each language and culture. Finally, the results of the analysis show that attention to the addressee leads to the use of apologies in Japanese where in French, attention to the speaker/writer leads to the use of thanks. In addition, some expressions seem to be used only in certain relationships.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):127-145
pages 127-145 views

A Cross-Cultural Study of American and Russian Proprieties in Communication

Issers O.S., Halvorson S.


An examination of eleven intercultural textbooks, used in the field of communication in America, reveals little research comparing Russian and American proprieties in communication (Chen & Starosta, 1998; Dodd, 1998; Jandt, 2004a; Jandt, 2004b; Kelly, Laffoon & McKerrow, 1994; Lustig & Koester, 1996; Martin & Nakayama, 2004; Martin & Nakayama, 2005; Martin, Nakayama & Flores, 2002; Samovar & Porter, 2003; Samovar & Porter, 2001). In order to investigate the similarities and differences (S/D) of the two countries, an instrument was developed containing questions dealing with proprieties and customs appropriate in both cultural settings. In order to maintain language integrity, the 29-item instrument was administered to English speaking students with: 1) no direct exposure to the Russian culture, or 2) direct exposure to the Russian culture. The results suggest proprieties in American and Russian society are more similar than difference in the majority of areas investigated in this research. However, there was a substantial difference between the two cultures in the following four areas: a) Russians are less likely than Americans to discuss their ethnicity in public situations; b) Russians are more polite than Americans in social situations; c) Russians feel more comfortable than Americans about speaking their minds in public situations; d) Russians are more honest when expressing opinions than their American counterparts.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):146-154
pages 146-154 views

Introducing Intercultural Communication into the Teaching of Translation

Cranmer R.


This article examines how the teaching of translation at university level can come to include the systematic development of intercultural skills. It will do this initially by presenting the methodology and outcomes of a European Union funded project entitled ‘Promoting Intercultural Competence in Translators’. The precise aims, context, participants, timing and working methodology of the project will be clearly outlined. This will be followed by an explanation of key theoretical principles which underlay the project and which were embodied in a ‘good practice guide’ at its conclusion. The project produced three key outputs freely available on the project website aimed to help university lecturers in Translation to enhance the development of students’ intercultural skills - a ‘curriculum framework’ (syllabus), teaching materials and assessment materials, for each of which the theoretical/pedagogical underpinning will be explained and examples provided. The article will conclude with an extended reflective section examining some of the limits of the project, areas in which it could be further developed or adapted to context, finishing with an indication of areas in which further research is needed.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):155-174
pages 155-174 views

Training Translators for a Superdiverse World. Translators’ Intercultural Competence and Translation as Affective Work

Koskinen K.


This article discusses how translation as one form of intercultural language work, is complicated by what has recently been discussed under the title of superdiversity, that is, the increased linguistic, ethnic and cultural hybridity of our societies. Superdiversity forces us to acknowledge the affective nature of translation work, thus foregrounding the role of empathy. The author argues that many traditional Translation Studies approaches need to be refined to remain valid in contemporary superdiverse societies, and that translator training and translation research alike would benefit from a critical reassessment of their underlying culture concepts.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):175-184
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On the conference “Kuskovskie Readings 2015”, Moscow, 20-22 September 2015

Douglas Mark Ponton -.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):199-200
pages 199-200 views

15-th Annual Aleksanteri Conference “Culture and Russian Society”, Helsinki, 21-23 October 2015

Larina T.V., Piiroinen M.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):201-204
pages 201-204 views


- -.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):205-209
pages 205-209 views

Contributors to this Issue

- -.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2015;19(4):210-216
pages 210-216 views

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