Intercultural Communication in a Global World

Module titleIntercultural Communication in a Global World
Module codeSML3009
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Sonia Cunico (Convenor)

Dr Francesco Goglia (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The 21st century is characterised by increasing transnational movements (of people, products, socio-cultural practices, etc.) which affect individual and collective perceptions and understanding of one’s own culture, language, and identity. To succeed in such complex multilingual and multicultural environments, intercultural awareness and competence, (the ability to recognise diversity and to function effectively in the culturally-diverse contexts) is fundamental. This module will develop an understanding of complex concepts such as culture, identity, and language and will promote the development of intercultural skills to resolve principal communicative challenges. This is of particular relevance when encounters are temporary, as in the case in tourism.

Module aims - intentions of the module

In this module aims to:

  • Examine critically key theoretical perspectives on identity, language and culture, and explore how these complex concepts affect and inform the dynamics of interactions in multilingual and multicultural settings
  • Explore what intercultural communication is and how an ability to understand diversity and respond effectively and appropriately to unfamiliar cultural practices is an essential competence in any international working and social environment
  • Develop a greater sensitivity to cultural and linguistic diversity through engagement with critical concepts such as culture, identity, othering, mis/communication in a range of different contexts and through different media

The module adopts an interdisciplinary approach and it will help you to develop a familiarity with different analytical tools and approaches, and the ability to design and develop an individual research project.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate understanding of the key theoretical notions and concepts in Intercultural Communication Theory as well as their relevance in multilingual and multicultural contexts
  • 2. Demonstrate the development of your Intercultural Competence through the analysis of data which illustrate instances of cultural diversity and/or mis/understanding

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Recognise, describe, and evaluate, under guidance from the module tutor/s, a variety of critical responses to case studies and sources
  • 4. Demonstrate the development of ethnographic skills within a structured framework
  • 5. Recognise and understand the role of language/s as a key locus of personal and sociocultural identity as well as of Intercultural mis/understanding
  • 6. Demonstrate familiarity and ability to draw on a range of research literature
  • 7. Demonstrate ability to engage with a variety of research approaches, including ethnography of communication, contrastive pragmatics, and discourse analysis

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Develop intercultural awareness and competence based on engagement with a variety of readings and case studies
  • 9. Undertake an independent research project, which involves data collection and use of appropriate analytical frameworks

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • What is Communication? Models of communication and culture
  • Language, culture, and identity – From linguistics to ethnography of communication
  • Language in Interaction: The structuring of talk as a cultural phenomenon
  • Language in Interaction: Crossing linguistic and cultural bridges (How do I say what I mean? And do I really mean what I say?)
  • Cross-Cultural Pragmatics at Work: Managing rapport through talk in the global village (from business to tourism)
  • Intercultural  Communication and Miscommunication
  • Co-construction of culture and identity – Doing culture in different contexts

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1510 x 1.5 hour lectures and seminar
Scheduled learning and teaching1Conclusion
Guided independent study134Private study and seminar preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project proposal written in English750 Words1-9Written and/or oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project written in English1003000 word project in English1-9Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ProjectProject1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Successful referred students will receive the maximum achievable mark of 40 for their essay. Successful deferred students will have their re-assessment treated as a first attempt, thus the full range of marks will be available.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Cruse, A. (2004) Meaning in Language: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics . Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Fischer, Kerstin (2010) Beyond the sentence: Constructions, frames and spoken interaction. In:  Constructions and Frames  2(2), pp. 185-207
  • Fried, M. and Nikiforidou, K. (eds) (2013).  Advances in Frame Semantics . Amsterdam: John Benjamins
  • Holliday, A, Hyde, A, and Kullman, J. · (2010) Intercultural Communication: An Advanced Resource Book for Students. Routledge
  • Hua, Zhu (2013) Exploring Intercultural Communication: Language in Action (Routledge Introductions to Applied Linguistics). Routledge
  • Martin, Judith & Nakayama, Thomas (2007 ) Experiencing Intercultural Communication: An Introduction. McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Jandt, Fred E. (2015) An Introduction to Intercultural Communication: Identities in a Global Community. SAGE
  • Piller, I. (2011) Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction Edinburgh University Press
  • Spenser-Oatey, H. (2000) Culturally Speaking: Managing rapport through talk across cultures. London and New York: Continuum.
  • Thomas, J. (1995) Meaning in Interaction: An Introduction to Pragmatics Longman
  • Wierzbicka, A. (1991) Cross-Cultural Pragmatics   Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Intercultural competence, identity, pragmatics, miscommunication

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date