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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 and others.

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 following:

- to analyze the works on cross - cultural communication;

- 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 formation;

- to synthesize the theoretical base for the methodology of the cross-cultural competence formation within the foreign language teaching;

- 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 language teaching.

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 Translators\Interpreters.

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” [2]. 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 linguists.

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” [6]. 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 competence formation.

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 University [7].

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 [8]. They are:

1. Grammar-Translation;

2. Direct;

3. Reading;

4. Audiolingualism;

5. Oral-Situational;

6. Cognitive;

7. Affective-Humanistic;

8. Comprehension-Based;

9. Communicative.

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” [8; 8].

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 language.

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 formation.

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 translation.

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 the grammatical and lexical level. The process of globalization tendency demands the cultural and cross-cultural skills from the participants of the global dialogue.


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