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Intercultural awareness and intercultural communication through English: an investigation of Thai English language users in higher education

Baker, William (2009) Intercultural awareness and intercultural communication through English: an investigation of Thai English language users in higher education University of Southampton, School of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis , 380pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


Over the previous few decades there has been an increased emphasis on the cultural aspects of English language teaching. However, in settings where English is used as a global lingua franca the cultural associations of the language are complex and the role culture plays in successful communication has yet to be extensively investigated. To conduct such a study it is necessary to explicate the role and nature of English in global contexts and particularly how English functions as a lingua franca (ELF). Furthermore, a theoretical understanding of the relationships between languages and cultures in intercultural communication is needed, which emphasises the fluid and dynamic nature of any connections. The thesis focuses on cultural awareness (CA) as an approach to equipping learners and users of English for the diversity of intercultural communication. However, it is suggested that CA has still not incorporated an understanding of the multifarious uses of English in global contexts where no clear cultural associations can be established. Thus, intercultural awareness (ICA) is offered as an alternative which addresses these needs.
This results in the formulation of research questions which aim to explore how ICA can best be characterised in an expanding circle setting and the role it plays in intercultural communication. Furthermore, this research also aims to explicate the relationships between the English language and cultures in such an environment and how this reflects on language use and attitudes. The study was predominantly qualitative utilising approaches associated with ethnography with the aim of producing a rich description of the research participants and their environment. The fieldwork took place over a six month period in a Thai university and seven participants formed the core of this study. The main data sources were recordings of the participants engaged in intercultural communication and interviews with the participants. These were supplemented with a survey, diaries, observations and documents from the research site. The findings of the study suggest that in successful intercultural communication culturally based forms, practices and frames of reference are employed as emergent, dynamic and liminal resources in a manner that moves between individual, local, national and global references. Furthermore, the results also indicated that ICA was a valid construct in the context investigated for explaining the types of cultural knowledge and related skills needed by participants to take part in successful intercultural communication through English.

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Published date: January 2009
Keywords: culture, language, intercultrual awareness, english, intercultural communication, thailand
Organisations: University of Southampton


Local EPrints ID: 66542
PURE UUID: 4e806f71-62a9-4d4f-9785-2b0197339c84

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Jul 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:24

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