The picture is of me holding our European Podcast Award, beautiful but heavy, together with the Olympus DM 55o Digital Voice Recorder which I used to record this show. OK I promise that this is the last time I’ll mention it! Thanks for the votes and thanks to the whole Absolutely Intercultural team which keeps the whole thing going.
absolutely lost Tingting Yang is a Chinese teacher of English and corporate communication advisor. There was lots to talk about but having done a Masters in Intercultural Communication and working as an intercultural trainer with Verge Cross-cultural Communication. There was one aspect of Chinese policy which Tingting was convinced has had a huge effect on Chinese culture and that is the one-child policy.
absolutely ‘merican Now I want to introduce you to Vicki Hollett, author of several successful English language learning books. Vicki is British but moved to the US about ten years ago. Her book Business Objectives, had been very successful in its original British English version so her publisher suggested that they make an American English version. We hear about positive and negative politeness and indirectness as used in Britain and America. To test our understanding of indirect English, Vicki produced a dialogue in which two people discuss what to do about a project which is behind schedule. Is the outcome clear?
And if you need a bit of structured listening or writing practice then you can find several different types of dictation exercises based on a snippet of that interview at the Listen and Write website.
Happy New Year or should that be Appy New Year from Absolutely Intercultural, the podcast about all things intercultural? My name’s Anne Fox and this podcast is coming to you from Denmark. This is show number 126, the first one of 2011 or 20 11 as I should probably start to call it. So why Appy New Year? Well in this show I will be introducing you to 3 so-called apps which could help you in your efforts to understand more about intercultural communication.
This is the first time I’m making a show after learning about our win in the European podcast awards for 2010. We won in the non-profit category and I just want to add my thanks to all those of you who voted for us and also to all those of you who have contributed to the show by speaking with me and Laurent over the years. Without you as our conversation partners this podcast would be impossible.
absolutely trivial The topic of small talk is often part of a language course, though not a very important one. But when I talked to Evan Frendo in Germany I discovered that small talk is actually a very important building block of working relationships. Here are links to Evan’s blog and his latest book, Intercultural Business English for German learners of English working in Asia.
absolutely useful? You may remember that in my last show we found out about South Korea from a Chinese perspective when I spoke with Carol who is doing a year’s study exchange there. What also interested me was how she was going to use Korean when she went back to China. So is Korean absolutely useful to Chinese people? Thanks again to Carol who got in touch with us to tell us about her Korean experiences. She certainly showed herself to be adaptable when faced with a sensitive intercultural situation.
absolutely adaptable And adaptability is something which Kenyan teacher, Samuel Osamba still needs to practice even though he has been in the USA for over 20 years now. Let’s hear how absolutely adaptable he needs to be in the classroom.
absolutely word for word I think that culture and language are closely connected which is why we often also talk about language learning on this podcast. As a teacher I am very impressed with the web site called Listen and Write in which language learners can do dictation exercises around short audio snippets often from YouTube videos or Voice of America broadcasts. Since we sometimes get asked for transcripts of the show I wondered if we could combine the two and upload short extracts from the show to Listen & Write for you to work with if you are a language learner. So the first one features the first part of Evan Frendo’s segment about small talk.
absolutely essential But am I right in thinking that culture and language are inextricably mixed? I have recently read a blog post by a respected English teacher who said that he didn’t see any reason to include intercultural communication in his English classes. Since Evan Frendo includes a great deal of intercultural communication in his classes I asked him for his view. Is it absolutely essential in language teaching?
appsolutely mobile After speaking with Evan I signed up to his Twitter feed and discovered a link he had posted about a language app. Apps are small programs that you can download to your mobile phone, tablet or mp3 player. There are thousands of them and I suddenly became curious whether there were any to do with intercultural communication. So in this final segment we’ll go appsolutely mobile (and I hope you heard my pronunciation there!)
So the first app is called Word Lens and works by translating any sign that you photograph. At the moment the only language pair available is English and Spanish so this means that you can photograph a Spanish sign and get an English translation or vice versa. Useful for restaurant menus I would imagine. The catch here though is that although the app is free, you have to buy the dictionary. But when it works, it’s like magic.
The second app I found was called Fasten Seatbelts and this gives you snippets of information about different cultures both in text format and in the form of short videos. Now this one is completely free. The first edition was a collection of Do’s and Don’ts for European countries and the second edition now covers a range of Asian countries.
The third app I found is called Cultural GPS and allows you to see the different Hofstede profiles for 98 different countries in the free version. In the pro version you can create your own personal cultural profile and compare it to any one of the 98 countries or compare pairs of countries to highlight differences and similarities. This is the one I liked the most and I’d be really interested to find out what you think about it.
All in all I think that this was an interesting little project but I have come to the conclusion that these apps can only help with simplistic culture specifics and don’t really help with the more rewarding culture-general aspects of intercultural communication. But maybe you know of other interesting apps? If so then do tell us about it in a comment here on the blog or send us an email. We’d also be very happy if you recorded something for us to include in the show. Well that’s it for this show.
absolutely worth it Thank you to Valentina Dodge for nominating the podcast and blog as one worth taking a look at. Thanks Valentina and now I just have to compile our own list of blogs worth looking at. I’ll be doing that in time for the next show but in the meantime you’ll hear about a great nomination in today’s show.
absolute textbook It’s often said that you can’t learn a language without culture so it makes sense to bring out a book which helps you learn English through learning about intercultural matters. I was at the IATEFL conference in Harrogate in April where I met Adrian Pilbeam, the author of the new book Working across Cultures, and discussed it with him. The book is part of the Pearson Longman Market Leader series and could be a useful supplement to the main course text.
absolutely social Now we’ll hear from Fred Dervin in Finland about why he was involved in organising a webinar about social media and inclusion and quite what this has to do with culture. The online conference took place in late April about the potential of social media, such as this podcast or our blog, to reduce social exclusion. The event was part of a large European project Language Learning and Social Media which will be coming up with best practices. You’d be surprised how much social exclusion has to do with cultural differences. In her session Professor Ruth Illman from Finland presented us with some different metaphors for culture. Prof Illman’s then moved on from talking about boxes to something more flexible. In the webinar we also heard about some problems in Second Life, the virtual world where one of the things you have to do is to choose an avatar or representation of yourself which you can then clothe according to your preferences. Prof. Gráinne Conole from The Open University, UK explains.
absolutely nominated Our podcast has been nominated for the European Podcast Award – please help us win the prize by voting for us. Just click on the German and the Danish flag and vote for Absolutely Intercultural. The address is http://www.european-podcast-award.eu/ and basically all you need to do is to give us a star rating for both content and design and then click the Vote button and that’s it. Thank you in advance!
As I am preparing to leave Australia soon, in my mind I am trying to compile a collection of lasting impressions that I gained during my stay in down-under. Now, for this podcast my challenge was – to capture one specific sound that would be emblematic for Australia. For me, personally, this would probably be the incredible bird sounds that I have already shared with you in previous shows. However, I have a feeling that for others the sound of the didgeridoo captures the Australian spirit best. In a small country town of the Hinterland I was fortunate enough to meet a part-blood Aboriginal and his daughter, both, producers and players of these Yirdakis, which is the real name for these curious wind instruments developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia since at least 1500 years ago. In our first category, I wanted to find out what exactly you have to do to produce this typical sound and where the name “didgeridoo” comes from.
We are still talking about learning – can you imagine going to school again for the rest of your life? And to sit in class and listen to what a teacher tells you? Or maybe there are other forms of learning out there?
Lifelong learning is often promoted by institutions of adult education, so we have interviewed Ulla and Beate, who both work for adult education institutions. Ulla works for the Folkuniversitetet in Sweden and Beate for Volkshochschule Köln, in Germany. I asked them whether there is a recognisable culture of lifelong learning, and what makes people want to carry on learning throughout their lives.
It is incredibly rewarding to work with people who out of their own free will decide to improve themselves and constantly set themselves new challenges by integrating into new learning situations.
Two of these people are Jakub and Mariusz, two Erasmus students from Poland, who spent a summer semester at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen. In our last category they describe a stark difference between the student-professor-relationships in Poland and in Germany. Geert Hofstede describes the intercultural dimension behind this as “power distance”. It is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions (here the students) expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Now, the observation of the two students totally confirms Hofstede’s theory. Power Distance in Poland is much higher than in most other European countries and in particular than in Germany. So it was to be expected that Polish students found the idea of a German Professor as a colleague and a friend very disturbing. However, we started our interview with the Polish students’ observations about Europe. They report that while the European idea is still new and exciting in Poland the Germans do not seem to appreciate or even question it any longer because they simply take Europe for granted.
The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 02. April.