Project Title:

Prácticas verbales en la comunicación intercultural: Estrategias y negociación del significado (Verbal practices in intercultural communication: Strategies and Meaning Negotiation)

Project Reference:

BFF2001-2576 , Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, Plan Nacional de la Ciencia I D I.


A group of seven researchers: Melissa G. Moyer, Joan A. Argenter, Albert Branchadell, Eva Codó, Joan Pujolar, Adela Ros and Monica Heller.

Project Summary:

Verbal practices in intercultural communication: Strategies and Meaning Negotiation

TOPIC This study deals with verbal practices in intercultural communication from the perspective of interactional sociolinguistics. The present research seeks to analyze strategies used in the negotiation of meaning in encounters between persons of Indian and Pakistani origin with natives from several cities in Catalonia.

OBJECTIVES The general goals are: (a) to characterize the most common strategies for negotiating meaning in intercultural interactions; (b) to explain the role of linguistic and extralinguistic factors in miscommunication which are produced in interactions where two or more languages are combined; (c) and to propose a model to understand the dynamics of identity creation by Indian and Pakistani immigrants in intercultural contexts. More specific goals include: (a) providing a detailed and rigorous linguistic analysis to determine the extent to which intercultural communication can be considered an individual phenomena resulting from communicative interaction and not from certain assumed cultural differences in ways of speaking; (b) showing how the process of identity creation by Indians and Pakistanis can be considered a product of the social context and the circumstances in which the lives of these two immigrant groups are embedded and not an outcome of a fixed social or ethnic category label.

THEORETICAL FOCUS The theoretical framework adopted follows the claims of symbolic interactionism. Communication is conceived as a dynamic process where meanings are negotiated on the spot. The ideas of Bourdieu and Giddens provide the social frame of reference used to undertake the analysis.

METHODOLOGY This study of intercultural communication uses detailed transcriptions of audio and video recordings in seven intercultural contexts selected for this project. The linguistics data provided by these recordings are complemented by (a) observations collected from fieldwork; (b) spontaneous narrations and information from a questionnaire obtained from in-depth interviews following an open and structured format; (c) and secondary data which include documents, legislation and statements made by public figures related to immigration.