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Lecture 1 International Communication International Languages

Communication is ever more increasingly considered to be the most important skill for becoming successful in your career. With globalization becoming a fact of life people need to become effective communicators in an international setting as well, not only in their own environment.

Specialists in communication speak about: international communication (between

representatives of different nations) interracial of communication different races (between physical

representatives differences) interethnic

communication

(between

representatives of different ethnic groups as identified by themselves) intercultural /cross-cultural /multicultural communication (between

representatives of different cultures)

Some terms are felt as negative (interracial or interethnic). Specialists and researchers define their understanding of the terms they use. Even so there are areas of overlapping as there are areas of disagreement concerning the aspects that should be studied under the various labels1.

For the purposes of the present course we will look at international communication mainly as the type of communication that goes on between various countries, governments, international organisations. We will try to become aware of

communication dilemmas that may explain some of the controversial activities that take
1

For an example of the complexities involved in defining clear-cut areas in communication read and reflect on text number one in your Readings section.

place on the international scene today. We will explore ethical issues as they form an area of increased concern for various categories of people and organisations. Social corporate responsibility is one way of defining the pressure put on corporations to become accountable to their stakeholders. We will also try to look at best practices that promote international understanding, acknowledgment of diversity and need for understanding and tolerance as a necessary must for any Romanian professional who hopes to be able to integrate successfully in the rapidly changing professional environment both within and outside Romania.

International language / World language

The present-day world status of English is primarily the result of two factors: the expansion of British colonial power, its highest at the end of 19th century. the emergence of the US as the leading economic power of 20th century.

The US has nearly 4 times as many English mother tongue (EMT) speakers as the UK. Together: 70% of all EMT speakers in the world. This makes the Americans the controllers of the way the language is likely to develop.

Why English?

If English is not a mother tongue why learn it? 1. historical reasons (former colonies): official proceedings carried out in English. 2. internal political reasons: English is neutral politically between different ethnic groups. 3. external economic reasons: International business and trade, tourist and advertising industry.

4. practical reasons: English language of international air traffic control developing as language of international maritime, policing and emerging services chief language of international business and academic conferences leading language of international tourism 5. intellectual reasons: most of the scientific, technological and academic information is in English over 80% of all electronic, retrievable information is in English. access to Western English literature and philosophy is through English (Ghoete, Dante) before - Latin. 6. entertainment reasons: pop music, pop culture and advertising main language of satellite broadcasting, PC, video-games, as well as pornography and drugs. 7. Some wrong reasons:

English is NOT a more beautiful, logical, easier to pronounce, simpler in grammar structure or larger in vocabulary

unthinking chauvinism naive linguistic thinking

Linguistic reasons are not high in the history of those that make a language successful.

Threatening English:

mutual influences as languages come into contact heavy borrowings legislation (France, Romania)

lexical invasion seen as the thin end of a wedge. fear of losing identity: languages replaced by English: Cumbric, Cornish, Norn, Manx, most North American Indian languages, most Australian Aboriginal languages.

Gaelic, Welsh, Maori and Hawaiian struggle to retain their identity.

The rights of minorities emotive issue. Inevitable atmosphere of uncertainty and mistrust: Did English murder Irish? Is English killing off other languages? Legea Pruteanu English may be rejected as official language because of association with colonial history: in Tanzania: English was jointly official in Swahili until 1967, when Swahili became

the official language in Kenya: English was replaced by Swahili in 1974 in Malaysia: in 1967 the National Language Act disestablished English as a joint

official language Malay In India: the relation of English to Hindi and other regional language is a continuous

source of controversy.

Threatened English:

because of globalisation

spread of nonstandard use of English: Japlish;

Frenglish/Franglais/franglez, Romglez; English speakers may feel threatened by the immigrants use and adaptation of

English to their own use in their new host-state. In the US the growth of the number of speaker of Spanish has led to a protectionist movement - US English, to a resulting reaction - English Plus and a lot of controversy.

Challenges of electronic communication

Electronic communication has exended the capacity to interact fast and to cross various barriers (time, space, class), but it also created some new ones: increased cultural diversity, awareness of different time zones, language differences.

People write and read more today. E-mail makes even very junior people in an organisation write to inform customers or stakeholders when they can expect to receive their goods, or when the next round for applications starts; to apologize for a mailing error; to let people know that a meeting has been postponed, etc.

Challenges of todays communication:

Developments in technology: the INTERNET, portable communication devices employees may work from remote places (telecommuting), but need to develop their ability to write and speak clearly. Increased use of teams mastery of interpersonal skills such as listening, giving

feedback, working collaboratively and resolving conflict. Increased cultural diversity in the workforce employees to adapt their

communication so that they can understand and be understood by other cultures.

Types of communication barriers: perceptual differences no two people perceive things exactly the same way.

Perception also influences how people develop language, which depends on shared definitions for meaning, and is shaped by their culture. international structures are restrictive and may delay or even block effective communication. Formal channels tend to cause distortions, as each link in the communication channel holds the potential for misinterpretation. Messages can The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lighting and lighting bug. Mark Twain

become fragmented so that the public never gets the big picture. communication can be made difficult by distractions: receivers. more difficult to discriminate between useful and useless information. physical (from poor acoustics to illegible copy) emotional information overload

unethical communicators can use deceptive communication tactics to manipulate their

International virtual meetings

Improving International Communication best practices

- working for intl organisations you have to be very well prepared in many areas, among which: language knowledge cultural knowledge history geography law politics literature, arts, popular culture

You cannot expect to be successful in international communication without knowing both your home country/region and the target one the one you intend to do work with or do business with. Knowing about a country and international affairs is critical for your survival. Suppose you do business in Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe: each government changes, more or less, the former governments decisions, and therefore the regulations on which you base your operations. It is important that you PREPARE and KNOW what is going on in order to have a STRATEGY for unpredictable situations. How can you do this? Prepare your lifelong plan to be globally aware: Learn foreign languages (reflect on your own language) Get to know other cultures: read books, watch documentaries, take courses, travel, eat in ethnic restaurants Take risks: meet and try to get to know people from the countries youre interested in

A good way to start is some commitment to study different countries. You will begin your long, but rewarding journey, to become globally aware. You can do so on the site of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis: www.bea.doc.gov or by looking at EU information on countries (www.europeonline.org) or international organisations such as UNESCO: http://portal.unesco.org Factors necessary to achieve global awareness are: 1) objectivity; objective in assessing opportunities, evaluating potential, and responding to problems. 2) tolerance toward cultural differences; tolerance is understanding cultural differences and accepting and working with others whose behavior may be different from yours, 3) knowledgeable; knowledgeable about cultures, history, world market potentials, and global economy and social trends is critical for a person to be culturally aware.

Activities for Lecture 1

A. Read Text 1 from the Readings section and reflect on the following: 1. Define in your own words the problem the reader presents to Larry. 2. How does Larry strategize in answering the issue he is given? 3. What is the lesson of this episode in communication misunderstanding? 4. Research Romanian newspapers/magasines and see how they present aspects related to interracial or interethnic communication. Choose an example and present it in class. B. Study the following picture. 1. Discuss the text on the sign of this official building focusing on the clarity of the message. 2. What inferences can you draw from the sign?