Linguistic, cultural and social differences compound the
task of communicating effectively across cultural lines. In this Assignment,
you will use film or television as your window into the linguistic, cultural,
and social differences that affect intercultural communication. Your Assignment
is to observe and report the verbal and nonverbal communication of the
characters portrayed on screen, assess their effectiveness as intercultural
communicators, and offer your ideas about the effect of different cultural
identities and how best to communicate across cultures.
You should observe 20 to 30 minutes of the film or
television program you choose, taking notes on your observations to be sure you
understand what happens and have plenty of detail when it is time to write. Get
your media in a way that lets you view the segment(s) more than once, so that
you can observe each of the categories that you will assess with as little
complication from other things as possible.
As long as the segments you are watching contain characters
that display different cultural attributes, genre does not matter. Drama
featuring human actors may be best for this project, but comedy, reality, or
even animation is usable as long as you can identify clear cultural differences
among the characters you observe. You will get the best results by following
the material you have chosen. Take notes on the words the characters use,
how they construct their conversations, and whether a dialect is involved.
Do all the characters speak the same language with the same facility? Does
language give you any clues about culture or status?
down or turn off the sound and watch the material again. What do you
observe about characters’ nonverbal communication? Does it reinforce,
replace, or contradict what is being said? Does nonverbal communication
help or hinder the verbal messages? Do you see misunderstandings because
of cultural differences?
the material again. How does each kind of communication contribute to
understanding? How does each cause misunderstandings?
The paper must:
Information to include:
name of the film or program and the characters you observed
assessment of the effectiveness of the verbal communication
assessment of the effectiveness of the nonverbal communication
ideas about how cultural differences affected this communication