К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2006
Автор: Родионова Г.С.
The contemporary world is characterized by
several features. They are: globalization, co-operation, information, and
speeding-up of all processes. It is realized in the transparency of
geographical boundaries and rapprochement of cultures. On the labor market it
is more and more important for a young applicant to speak some foreign
language. A foreign language is a key to the position in any venture company.
It is a key to an interesting work that is not limited by the same country. It
is a possibility for young staff to move up along the ladder of the career.
The facts of reality witness that the
English language has become the world language and the language of business,
science and culture. It means not only the growth of this language’s influence
on other languages; it also means the growth of the cultural influence. The culture
that is behind the English language increases its influence every day.
At the same time we can say that the more
influential culture is, the more interested is the language that is in this
culture. The interest in a culture means the growth of the interest to a
language, and vice versa. It is a very good way to motivate of foreign language
learners. The teacher can use the cultural aspects for actualization of some
linguistic aspects. It can be very helpful in case of communicative approach, suggestopedia
In this paper we want to describe one more
aspect of interaction between a given language and its culture. The linguistic
competence (in the meaning “underlying knowledge of a language” [1; 121])
consists of several components. They can be: reading, writing, listening and
speaking according to one system of classification; and they can be grammar,
pronunciation and lexicon according to the other classification. To use the
language appropriately, a learner needs to know several cultural and societal
aspects for the language usage. In this paper the importance of cultural
competence is described as the essential part of general linguistic competence.
The subject of the work is the
cross-cultural communication and foreign language teaching.
The object of the work is the
cross-cultural competence within the foreign language teaching.
The research objective is the
creation of theoretical base for the methodology of the cross-cultural
competence formation within the foreign language teaching.
The research tasks are the
- to analyze the works on cross - cultural
- to analyze the works connected with
cross-cultural communication teaching for the foreign language learners;
- to analyze the approaches of foreign
language teaching according to the needs of the cross-cultural competence
- to synthesize the theoretical base for
the methodology of the cross-cultural competence formation within the foreign
- to work out the approximate block of
disciplines that can provide the cross-cultural competence formation.
The methodological level of the research is
supported by the works of such authors as Ter-Minasova S., Hofsted G.,
Matsumoto J., Spolsky B., and Sablina N.
The research methods that were used in this
work are the following: progressing and regressing analysis, synthesis,
explanation and observation.
The scientific novelty is in the creation
of the methodological base for the cross-cultural competence within the foreign
The practical value of this work lies in
the possibility of practical use by the teachers of English or any other
foreign language and application of this theoretical base for the formation of
the cross-cultural competence under the circumstance of any school or university.
This theoretical base also is very helpful for the students who want to acquire
a foreign language at the highest level of proficiency. This work can be used
for the planning of disciplines within the planning of general course for such
faculties as Teacher of Foreign Languages and training of
First of all we offer the analysis of the
researches on cross-cultural communication made by Geart Hofstede and Geart Jan
Hofstede in their book “Cultures and Organizations” . This book is
dedicated to the problems of national culture differences, organizational
cultures, dimensions of national cultures, and cultures in organizations. The
last part of the book is the implications that include intercultural encounters
and surviving in a multicultural world sections.
The national culture differences are the
differences within a state or a country that is inhabited by several different
ethnic groups. The authors say that in this case we face with the problem of
cultural problems handling on the governmental level. The reasons for it are
the processes that go simultaneously in the country. On the one hand there are
strong forces for further integration between people of different origin,
because they have one or two dominant languages, national army, national system
of education and national political system. On the other hand, there is a
tendency for ethnic, linguistic and religious groups to fight for recognition
of their own identity. [2; 18].
Thus, speaking about culture of Kazakhstan we mean the culture of the Kazakh, Russian, German
and Korean and other ethnic groups. At the same time after the Soviet period
the country has a part of absolutely different culture (special holidays,
historical events, and pieces of art that happened to appear in the Soviet Union, the Republic of Kazakhstan).
Writing about organizational cultures, the
authors emphasize not only the necessity of culture in every good company but
also the necessity of acquaintance with the cultures existing in some companies
as a typical part of the general ethnic culture.
So, the authors describe such kinds of
cultures in organization as pyramids, machines, markets, and families. All of
them characterize the types of culture that are used from the beginning of the
time in Japan and Great Britain, in Africa and North America for achieving
better results in business and politics.
Dimensions of national cultures offered by
the authors are very interesting and useful for the further research in our
paper; they are power distance, concept of self, gender roles, the attitude
toward uncertainty and time orientation. These dimensions help us to find the
aspects for description and analysis of different cultures that are studied
within the foreign language teaching but they do not help to find the ways how
to do it better.
The most interesting part of this book for
our paper is implications. It is connected with the explanation of link between
language and humor, intercultural negotiations and advertisement. It is very
significant because here we can follow the usage of a language in a given cultural
situation. For instance, the advertisement uses the power of words to attract
the customers, it means that the least amount of the words should contain the
greatest allusive and emotional, metaphorical and association nuclear.
The other book on the cross-cultural
communication is written by a Russian linguist, her name is Svetlana Ter-Minasova.
During many years she worked as a translator and a teacher of translation. In
her book “Introduction to Cross-cultural Communication” she speaks about
the importance of the cross-cultural competence for a future translator as well
as any person who want to acquire the language on a higher level. [3; 23]. This
book also associates the terms of cross-cultural communication, anthropology
and culture. The terminology given in this book is very corresponding to the
theme of our research, so it is logical to use it in further works. [3; 34-46].
The other sections of this book are devoted
to the problems of translation in case of cultural allusions, the means of
translation, the differences between cultures of Russia
and the USA. Sometimes the comparative analysis is
made on the basis of several cultures or at least ethnic groups features, for
example, the illustration on the problem of stereotyping is shown with the help
of description of several European nations: British, Norwegian, French and Spanish.
There are plenty of examples taken from the history of co-operation between
cultures on the level of cinema, literature and arts. We can see the problems
of understanding even on the level of international negotiations when the
leaders of the countries or the leaders of the biggest financial groups can not
come to the decision because of the problems on the level of cross-cultural
communication. Usually, the solution is in the help of a linguist who is
competent on the cross-cultural level, who can give advice to both parties of
the talks. The question in this case is the only one: how to train such
The author of this book offers different
lists of differences in the sphere of advertisement, inscriptions, social rules
of behavior and so on and so forth. This part can be very helpful because it is
connected with the language itself. At the same time it is connected with the
analysis of the different language within the same circumstances. It is very
important for the beginners in translation and for those who will study the
cross-cultural communication while studying a foreign language.
Some grammatical points are also described
in this book, the most contemporary of them is the usage of the pronouns
speaking about unknown person, when we do not know who is it, a woman or a man.
It is shown in the part named “Language and Ethics”. The addition of this point
to the program of training would be useful not only for the future translators
but for the future teachers too.
The next book will describe the process of
interaction between cultures from the viewpoint of the linguistic-cultural
study. [4; 16] This term was introduced by Tomakhin G.D., who worked in the
sphere of translation in its connection with the culture. He offered the comparative
analysis of realities (this is a term for words that describe the real life of
a given cultural unity [4; 20]) and the means for translation of them. He
speaks about the necessity of special disciplines to achieve better results in
the training of translators with a broad cultural knowledge. Several of his
terms given in the process of the explanation of his own book can be very
relative to the point of our research. We can demonstrate the relativity of
this book with our theme on the example of realities from the political and
judicial systems. Basically, these categories of words are strongly linked with
the culture of countries. Although, we can maintain this fact by many points
(the structure of political and judicial sphere is explained by the gender,
religious and value statements that are characteristic for the given culture,
at the same time they are illustrations of such concepts as the concept of
self, locus of control, and the concept of responsibility), we should remember
that the names that are used for the description of these spheres are quite
linguistic. So, while a student studies some language and, for instance, he or
she studies some political terms, they can see the difference in words.
We can illustrate it by the example with
lawyers. Usually, in Kazakhstan we do not use the variety of terms for the
description of people who protects our civil rights at the courts. On the
contrary, in many English speaking countries we can find some terms that are
not explicable for our readers, for instance: lawyer, jurist, solicitor,
advocate, attorney, legist, barrister, legal expert and counselor [5; 104]. In
every case for explanation you need not a word from the dictionary, you need a
whole paragraph to know how and where to use this word, and what person can be
described with the help of it.
We can say that the understanding of these
terms is impossible without the knowledge of the whole system. I do not want to
affirm that a usual foreign language learner has to study all aspects of a
culture which language he or she studies, I just want to emphasize that
students should know about this aspect of a foreign language acquisition and
how to improve their language under these circumstances.
One more book that we introduce in this
part of our work is the book of David Matsumoto and Linda Juang “Culture and
Psychology” . The book describes all psychological aspects where the
culture has a special influence. Among others, such as gender, health, emotions
social behavior and organizations, the language is mentioned as the basic
psychological aspect of a human being existence realization. The authors say
that the language consists of several features that happen in all languages and
in all cultures [6; 262]:
Syntax and Grammar
The authors say that culture and language
are intimately related. Culture influences the structure and functional use of
language and language can be thought of as the result of culture. Language
influences out thinking and world view, so, we can say that there is no clear
image of a culture without knowledge of a language, and there is no clear
acquisition of a language without image of a culture.
The authors mention features of a language
that have, as their name to show, how the culture influences every one of them.
For instance, the most flexible and meaningful part of any language is lexicon.
The changes of history and time bring the changes in lexicon first of all.
Other sections of the part connected with
culture and language are problems of culture, language and cognition,
bilinguals and culture, the role of culture in communication process and in the
process of encoding and decoding information with the help of linguistic signs.
The most part of this material can be used
as a theoretical base for further research in the sphere of cross-cultural
Speaking about teaching cross-cultural
communication, we should mention the work of Nurbayeva J. “Cross-Cultural
Communication” that is used as textbook at the Kazakh-American Free
It consists of several parts that deal with
different aspects of culture. This book is not connected with the language
acquisition directly, but it supports it in the sphere of culture acquisition.
The most significant role of this book is in the aspect of terminology base.
The author of this book used the latest data in the field of cross-cultural communication
and united all necessary material. For instance, there we can find the
definitions for such terms as cultural knowledge, cultural awareness and
cultural competence [7; 12-13].
The other positive fact about this book is
practice given after every theoretical part. It helps not only memorize the
material but also to model different situations (especially, situations
introduced in English) that make student to make a decision resting upon their
knowledge of culture and language. For instance, in the chapter on direct and
indirect communication: students are trained to speak the same language with
different partners. They should be able to use other linguistic constructions,
logic of thought introduction and even words.
We can say that this work is probated that
is more significant than any other recommendation.
According to the article of Marianne Celce-Murcia
“Language Teaching Approaches: An Overview” there are nine approaches . They
Before analysis of their features we need
to know the difference between such terms as approach, method and technique.
The author of the article affirms the following: “An approach…is something that
reflects a certain model or research paradigm – a theory… A method…is a set of
procedures,…how to teach…It is more specific than an approach but less specific
than a technique. Methods are typically compatible with one (or sometimes two)
approaches. A technique is a classroom device or activity and thus represents
the narrowest of the three concepts…” [8; 5-6].
Out of all introduced approaches we want to
point out only several:
Direct Approach because “…Target culture is
also taught inductively” [8; 6].
Oral-Situational Approach because “…new
items (lexical and grammatical) are introduced and practiced situationally” [8;
7]. It means that the realities as the part of the culture will be brought into
the classroom. It is impossible to speak about meals in England and not to tell about five o’clock tea party. This theme will be linked with traditions
of meals and rules of etiquette. Of course, for our culture it is not a big
surprise but a learner from any Muslim country or from several states of Africa
will be astonished, for them it will be facing with new style of life.
Affective-Humanistic Approach because
“learning a foreign language is viewed as a self-realization experience” [8;
8]. This self-realization is inevitably built on the process of communication.
In its turn it means that the better you are understood the more is the level
of self-realization. To be understood means to be competent in all aspects of a
language, including cross-cultural competence.
Communicative Approach because “…the goal
of language teaching is learner ability to communicate in the target language”
To sum up we can say that here we can
introduce only those of approaches that were the most popular in the last
quarter of the twentieth century. Does it make any sense that we choose these
approaches and no other? The problem of cross-cultural competence appears in
case of teaching through any of the approaches, but these ones are able to form
the cross-cultural competence due to direct or indirect deliberate goals. At
the same time, other approaches, such as translation-grammar, are not bad; they
just take more time and power to be able to form the cross-cultural competence
within the process of teaching. It happens in situations when the target is not
the language itself, but only its formal part.
In this case the way out will be a block of
special disciplines that accompanies these approaches and forms the
cross-cultural competence. The only danger here will be the separate thinking
of learners, because sometimes these disciplines are taught not in a target
The previous analysis of the material helps
to form the general idea of the theoretical base. First, we need to emphasize
that there are two ways of the cross-cultural competence formation. Usually,
they are used parallel to each other. Sometimes, they can be used separately;
it means that the formation of skills will be not completed.
The first way is teaching across cultures
during the lessons of a given foreign language. For instance, we can use the
texts about cultural peculiarities, discussions about different customs and
traditions in different languages. We can compare the features of the housing
and holidays, the political systems and attitude toward the family and career.
In most cases it means that we teach culture of the target language indirectly.
The students will absorb the notions and values within the studying of the
language. The limitation of this way is that the students can not understand
clearly the real difference between native and target cultures because it can
not be explained thoroughly within the lessons of the foreign language.
The second way of the cross-cultural
competence is the formation of a block of disciplines that can supply
appropriate level of the cross-cultural competence additionally or simultaneously
with the other skills of the language competence. It can be achieved through
the combination of linguistic, psychological and other humanities. This way
will be discussed in the next part of the work.
Coming back to the theoretical base of the
cross-cultural competence formation within the lessons of the foreign language
we should mention that the problems of linguistic origin are very often the
barriers for the communication. It means that the goal for the teaching in this
case will be the elimination of these problems. Sablina N. affirms that “…in
the intercultural area the linguistic competence is not enough for the
efficient communication. They (students) should have a communicative competence
(a skill to use the rules of a given language in a definite social situations),
and a cognitive competence (a skill of word formation and speech making in a
target language)” [9; 53].
Sablina N. also distinguishes such
linguistic problems as thought expression and understanding of the partners. In
the area of the aural communication these problems are the differences of
communicative styles (compressed and full-scale, direct and indirect) [9; 54].
The theory given by Harold LaSalle says
that the most important thing in the communication process is the understanding
of five questions model: Who says? What is said? To whom is it said? Through
what channel was it said? What is the effect? [10; 13]. The theory of communication
as it is given by this author will be useful for the cross-cultural competence
Speaking about the theoretical base for the
process of the cross-cultural competence formation we suggest to elect the all
of the materials that we overviewed before. Unfortunately, we can not rest upon
the theories and conceptions created in Kazakhstan, so, we have to orient all of the concepts on the ground of Kazakhstan.
In terms of formation of the cross-cultural
competence when the approaches of the teaching do not support the development
of this type of competence, we need to add several disciplines to achieve the
appropriate level of the cross-cultural competence. We suggest to perform all
of these disciplines in a target language, because in this case the students
will be informed not only about the notions themselves but also about the words
that can be used for their explanations.
The block of the disciplines includes
culture study of the target language (excluding literature), literature of the
target language with selective reading of some samples that are the most
characteristic for the given style or period of time. The other part of the
block is country study, and political system study. These are the disciplines
that are currently taught at KAFU even now. The course that needs to be broadened
is cross-cultural study. Within the theory of translation, a separate part
should be devoted to the cultural differences in translations, the means of
translation in this case and the contemporary problems of theory of
It is impossible to decide on this level of
the research how to distribute these disciplines according to the level of the
students and the year of the study. The tendency in this direction is the
involvement of the various disciplines.
The research objective is to distinguish
the theoretical base for the cross-cultural competence formation within the
foreign languages teaching. The achievement of this goal is supported by the
achievements of the tasks. In the process of the analysis we found out that
there are different books devoted to the study of the cross-cultural and
intercultural problems in the aspect of intercultural integration and business
links development. All of the theories performed in the paper are not combined
with the sphere of the foreign language teaching. Only one of them concerning
the importance of cross-cultural competence within the translation process is
connected with the linguistic points.
Speaking about formation of the theoretical
base for the cross-cultural competence development we should distinguish two
ways or two areas of application. First is when the teaching approach supports
the cross-cultural competence formation and the second, when the teaching
approach does not help to develop this competence. In the first case we should
accompany usual tasks by some cultural points, for instance, teaching greetings
let us compare the greetings in the native country and in the target language
country or countries. In the second case we should accompany the main
linguistic course by several additional courses. Some of these disciplines are
taught already, but some of them should be improved or broadened.
The further steps in the development of the
paper research are the work out the terminology base, the methods of teaching,
the consequence of the additional selective disciplines and the curriculum work
out. The development of the contemporary theoretical base for the
cross-cultural competence formation is very important for the students of Kazakhstan because the linguistic competence is not limited by
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demands the cultural and cross-cultural skills from the participants of the
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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2006