A Wiki Platform for Language and Intercultural Communication

A Wiki Platform for Language and Intercultural Communication

Minjie Xing (University of Manchester, UK), Bin Zou (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China) and Dongshuo Wang (University of Manchester, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2821-2.ch001
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This chapter studies a wiki project that electronically links English students learning Business Chinese in the UK and Chinese students learning Business English in China. The focus is placed upon enhancing English/Chinese language skills and intercultural communication competence. Students’ messages on the wiki illustrate that cultural values and cultural competence are important parts of business communication. The results of a questionnaire survey and a focus group interview indicate that the interaction between language learners and native speakers not only helped students improve each other’s language, but also allowed them to understand the business norms and behaviours in another culture. The chapter concludes with a proposal that wikis can be a platform for enhancing language output and intercultural communication competence, if well designed and monitored.
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Literature Review

Intercultural communication competence is defined as the ability to act within a given context in a responsible and adequate way (Wang & Byram, 2011). Byram’s (1997) Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) model presents a conceptual framework consisting of four interrelated components—knowledge, skills, attitudes, and awareness. To become competent intercultural communicators, language learners need to have knowledge of other cultures and possess the skills for smooth communication. Language learners need to be open-minded to understand the world from intercultural perspectives and with non-judgmental attitudes, and they need to be aware of cultural similarities and differences so as to be able to deal with situations where different cultures meet. As far as business exchange between China and the west is concerned, the following aspects need to be taken into consideration, because China is a country different from the west in many aspects and both western and Chinese people have to make a conscious effort to adjust their communication and business styles to compensate for the linguistic and cultural barriers.

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