Culture, Contexts, and Communication in Multicultural Australia and New Zealand: An Introduction
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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In the Asia Pacific region acquiring communicative competence in intercultural interactions in English is an increasingly important goal for adult English language learners. One aspect of communicative competence that has been little researched to date is competence in interpreting the nonverbal channels of communication that accompany speakers’ verbal messages. For Thai learners of English the differences between Thai and English native speakers in many features of nonverbal communicative behaviour can lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication. In this study the understanding of English native speakers’ nonverbal communication and attitudes to such communication is investigated with a group (n = 73) of Thai university students. Using experimental classroom-based research the effectiveness of two teaching approaches using American and Australian films have been evaluated. One of these approaches involves explicit teaching about nonverbal communication used by English native speakers, whereas the other approach does not teach about nonverbal communication, but exposes the students to nonverbal codes whilst explicitly teaching the linguistic features of interactions in the chosen films. Results of pre and post teaching intervention assessments support the importance of explicit teaching for Thai background English learners’ enhanced appreciation of the nonverbal communication of English native speakers.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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