Written Analysis Communicative Competence and Intercultural Communication



In talk exchanges, as well as drawing on linguistic knowledge, communicators draw on para-linguistic/non-linguistic features, background knowledge and knowledge of context and culture in order to understand the implicature of each participant’s utterances. Intercultural communication difficulties can arise not because of a difficulty with the actual language, but because of the different assumptions and expectations that people from different cultures bring to the act of communicating.

With reference to your readings, analyse the talk exchange below from the movie The Joy Luck Club (Markey, Wang, Tan & Bass, 1993), give a possible explanation for the reason for the difficulties in understanding, and discuss your insights into how your own culture influences your communication.

Talk exchange: The Joy Luck Club (1.49-2.34)

Lindo: This dish not salty enough. No flavour. It’s too bad to eat. But please……

Rich: You know, Lindo, all this needs is a little soy sauce.

Mr Jong: Oh! Uh, oh.

Lindo: (says nothing).

Markey, P., Wang, W. , Tan, A., & Bass, R. (Producers) (1993). The Joy Luck Club [Motion picture]. USA: Hollywood Pictures.

Assignment notes

  • The Joy Luck Club is a movie about 4 American-born Chinese women and their Chinese born mothers, all now living in USA.
  • Watch the movie clip from The Joy Luck Club https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t82eWkb_tM The clip is 2.47 minutes long, but for your written analysis, just use the section of dialogue from 1.49-2.34.
  • In this clip, Waverly takes her American non-Chinese fiance home to meet her parents for the first time, at her mother’s birthday dinner.
  • Do NOT write a formal academic essay. You must complete the assignment using the template provided in the Assessments folder.
  • There are 3 sections to this assignment.
  1. Identify and explain:
  • the socio-linguistic features (setting/context, participants, hierarchy, topic of conversation).
  • the linguistic code (words, grammar, punctuation)
  • the para-linguistic features (eg. volume, speed)
  • and non-linguistic features (eg. eye contact, movement, space)
  • the background knowledge necessary to understand the conversation.
  • implicature (the speaker’s intention with each actual utterance in this conversation)

For this section of Assessment 1, you should write 900 – 950 words, including the text of the talk-exchange. Set out your work in the table format that will be given to you. Adjust size of text boxes as appropriate.

  1. Rich and Lindo didn’t understand each other’s reactions in this situation.
  • Discuss which one of the following dimensions of culture could most likely explain the miscommunication?
  • High and low context cultures
  • Individualism/collectivism
  • Power distance
  • Masculinity/femininity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • You should:
  • identify how each person feels as a result of this conversation
  • define the dimension you have chosen, with reference to the literature
  • analyse the cause of the miscommunication.

For this section of the assignment, write 1-2 paragraphs, about 250-300 words

  1. Write a reflective paragraph explaining what you might do in a similar situation. Provide insights into what aspects of your culture might influence your own communication style. (250 – 300 words)
  • Overall, in sections 2 and 3, you should use a minimum of 3 academic texts to support your ideas.