Language and Culture in Context:
A Primer on Intercultural Communication

An open textbook by Robert Godwin-Jones
School of World Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University

Chapter 1
Broadening Horizons

I. Introducing intercultural communication
  • What is intercultural communication?
  • The need for intercultural communication today
  • Culture: Central to our lives
  • Culture from the perspective of complexity theory
  • Communication: A human necessity

  • II. Cultures under study and in the media
  • Intercultural Communication as an academic discipline
  • Cultural taxonomies and their dangers
  • Ethics & intercultural communication
  • Countering the media echo chamber
  • Technically speaking: Information literacy

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    Chapter 2
    Building Identities

    I. How identities are built
  • Cultural identity
  • Integration and marginalization
  • Social identity
  • Worldviews and religions
  • Intercultural communication and ideology

  • II. Judging and treating others fairly
  • Categorization and stereotyping
  • Addressing prejudice and intolerance
  • Language and identity
  • Food and culture
  • Technically speaking: Online identities

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    Chapter 3
    Using Language

    I. Language and culture
  • Language: How we process the world around us
  • Language reflects culture
  • Sociolinguistics: Studying language in use
  • World languages
  • Bilingualism and multilingualism

  • II. Second language learning
  • Approaches to language learning
  • Understanding the nature of language
  • Learning a second language
  • English as a world language
  • Technically speaking: Language learning and technology

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    Chapter 4
    Conversing and Relating

    I. Communication in practice
  • Language and relationships
  • Communication styles
  • Communication contexts
  • Communication accommodation
  • Uncertainty management

  • II. Language in society
  • Sources of miscommunication
  • Culturally embedded language use
  • Gender and communication
  • Communication in personal relationships
  • Romancing across cultures
  • Technically speaking: Communicating and relating online

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    Chapter 5
    Communicating nonverbally

    I. Body language
  • The nature of nonverbal communication
  • Sending signals without words
  • Gestures across cultures
  • The universality of facial expressions
  • Personal space
  • Physically interacting with others

  • II. Nonverbal messaging
  • Paralanguage: Conveying meaning through ways of speaking
  • Managing conversations
  • Physical appearance and dress
  • Nonverbal expectancy violation theory
  • Music: Another way to communicate nonverbally
  • Technically speaking: Semiotics and the Internet

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    Chapter 6
    Contextualizing intercultural communication

    I. Environmental contexts
  • The impact of the environment on conversations
  • Built environments and communication patterns
  • Privacy across cultures
  • Cultural spaces
  • Car and driving behavior in a cultural context
  • Time orientation

  • II. Professional and institutional contexts
  • Business and organizational contexts
  • Equity and ethics
  • The importance of names
  • Communicative genres
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Education
  • Technically speaking: Professional discourse & privacy online

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    Chapter 7
    Encountering other cultures

    I. Communicating across cultures
  • Personal encounters
  • Conflicts and language
  • Conflict resolution
  • The concept of face
  • Cultural schemas
  • Mediated encounters

  • II. Moving among cultures
  • Experiencing a different culture
  • Cross-cultural adaptation
  • Refugees
  • Culture Shock
  • Study abroad
  • Achieving intercultural competence
  • Technically speaking: Reflective writing

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    Robert Godwin-Jones
    Virginia Commonwealth University
    Open textbook: Creative Commons BY NC
    Version: Fall, 2019