Mini Lecture: Sociolinguistics and Intercultural Interaction

Here is a message and short lecture from Professor Lisa Fairbrother, a specialist in Sociolinguistics and Intercultural Interaction.

Hello everyone and welcome (back) to the Department of English Studies!

Although these are very difficult times, I hope you are all trying to stay positive and looking forward to the start of classes.

As a specialist in Sociolinguistics and Intercultural Interaction, I’m primarily interested in how people communicate with each other, whatever language(s) they choose to use. When we learn a foreign language, we often spend a lot of time learning the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation of the language and we also put a lot of effort into practicing speaking, reading, listening and writing. However, we are less likely to think about the ‘unwritten rules’ of communication or think about how our individual backgrounds might affect the way that we communicate with others. These communication ‘rules’ are important to think about though, because they can greatly affect our communication in the real world and have the potential to lead to serious misunderstandings.

In this short video, I show an example of a misunderstanding between a Chinese and an American businessman and analyse why it happened. Hopefully this example will make you start to think a little bit about how you yourself use English and encourage you to learn more about language use in the real world.


Here is a PDF of the lecture slides:

Self intro video Using English in the real world