Making the ‘invisible’ visible

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This chapter demonstrates how conversation analysis or talk-in-interaction can be utilized in the language classroom in order to promote intercultural language learning. It shows how tertiary Mandarin language students can be given the techniques and opportunities to reflectively examine their own culture and its intersection with other cultures. It uses intercultural pragmatics and conversation analysis to examine the Chinese Mandarin ni hao ma (‘how are you’) in an oral Chinese language test. The chapter contrasts two groups of Chinese Mandarin learners, one of which received intercultural training in the use of ni hao ma during telephone openings and the other group who didn’t receive any intercultural language teaching. The chapter illustrates how language learners can reflexively examine their language use and demonstrates ways of encouraging language learners to think about hidden cultural assumptions within their own talk and language.


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