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15 - Semiotics and Intercultural Pragmatics

from Part III - Interface of Intercultural Pragmatics and Related Disciplines

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 September 2022

Istvan Kecskes
State University of New York, Albany
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Human conversation is an extremely intricate social ritual that involves the strategic utilization of signs and sign systems that will ultimately determine how it will unfold successfully or not. When two people speak the same language and belong to the same culture they automatically can plug into the same semiotic codes (language, facial expression, relevant cultural allusions, etc.) that ensure the flow of meaning exchanges, thus determining the outcome of the conversation. What happens when the interlocutors speak different languages and belong to different cultures, yet engage in conversation through a common language, which may or may not be spoken by either one of them as a native language? In such situations the codes that regular conversations may trigger meaning anomalies that lead to unanticipated reactions or misunderstandings. This chapter looks at the problem of intercultural communication from the perspective of semiotic method, focusing on the semiotic codes (verbal and nonverbal) involved in any interaction.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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