Intercultural communication and language

Intercultural communication is a process of interaction between people with different cultural backgrounds. Communication in general can be seen as a "process in which people convey meaning to each other" (Broszinsky-Schwabe, 2011, p.27). Messages are sent by one person (the sender). The recipient(s) receive(s) the message and interpret(s) it. If the sender and receiver have different cultural backgrounds, this can lead to a message being understood differently to how it was intended. Especially in the case of indirect messages, cultural knowledge can be important to understand the message as it was intended. So, depending on the culture, a "maybe" can mean an actual "maybe" or it can be a politely worded rejection. In addition to verbal communication, non-verbal communication, i.e. facial expressions, gestures and body posture, plays an important role in a conversation. If this is misinterpreted, it can lead to misunderstandings. An intercultural context does not necessarily mean that there are problems in understanding each other. This is generally not the case. However, engaging with intercultural communication can help avoid possible misunderstandings or confusion.

If the interlocutors have intercultural competence, this can assist successful communication in an intercultural context. Training courses on intercultural competence and intercultural communication are offered by various parties in Saxony-Anhalt. You can find more information on this on the topic page Interculturalism and dealing with diversity.

Institutional communication and official language

Plain language

Non-discriminatory language

Publications on intercultural communication