Language As Basic Tool Of Communication To Achieve Cultural Interaction
The earth is home to all human beings. However, it might be hard to understand why different races, colors, genders, languages, values, and traditions exist. The holy books provide the proof that God created humans from diverse races, religions, genders and tribes in order to communicate and interact with one another. “We created you from a male-female combination, and gave you tribes and races so that you might get to know each other.” (Holy Quran: The Chambers, Al Hujurat 13). These social differences can be considered as a part and parcel of human nature. “He could make humanity one nation, but they continue their differences.” (Holy Quran. Jesus also encouraged his disciples not to give up on prayer in order to improve communication skills. “For every one who asks will be granted, and all who seek will find, and those who knock will be welcomed in the house” (Matthew7:7, as cited in Moseley’s 2009).
Humans are social creatures and these differences encourage them to seek out others to communicate. These cultural interactions allowed people to learn from each others and created a society. Language is a key tool to communicate culturally. But, communication can be affected by different languages. It is therefore important to try to find common languages that are easy to understand and allow people from different nations to communicate effectively. Nelson Mandela (n.d.), once said, “If you speak to man with a language he knows, that goes directly to his heart.” It is a good idea to speak in his native language to get to know him. Kramsch (1995), stated that English was the key to international communication and interaction. English has become an international language, which can express many cultures around the globe. “International English refers to the idea that English language can be used worldwide in many languages. It also represents the movement towards an internationally recognized standard.” (Patel/Jain, 2008, p.6) They also showed that English is widely spoken around the globe. Nearly 320 million people speak it as their mother tongue, and more than 200 million people have it as their second language. It is a language that allows native speakers and non-native speakers to develop intercultural communication. Kashru (2008, Smith) also stated that 25% use English in social activities, such as academic, business, diplomacy or visual media. Crystal et al. Crystal et al. (2016) stated that English language is the most universal of the 7000 languages worldwide. Establishing international relations is a challenging phenomenon.
English language is now linguafranca to conform to international standards. It has been made lingua francica from a local language (Crystal and others, 2016; Tran & Seepho, 2015). It has been considered neutral without any American, British or Canadian coloring. Patel and Jain (2008) have shown that international English minimises the effects of colonial imperialism in Victorian Britain or “cultural imperialism” in the United States. English is a language that has developed over a large part of the globe because of British colonialism. The United States, however, has changed the process of linguistic transculturation. But, both America and Britain are less influential when the international language is used. Crystal et al. According to Crystal (2016) English is currently used in three different circles. The outer circle that English is used for official purposes such as in Japan or China. The expanding circle of English being used as a foreign tongue in the rest countries. This allows for the spread of English languages that are not only American, British, or Australian (Kashru & Smith, 2008; Northrup (2013)). This allows you to access Western culture and Western cultural values all around the globe through formal English international.
Because of the process of internalization and globalization, English has been able to develop into an international language that facilitates communication and interaction in cross-cultural communities. Regan et al. Regan et al. (2009) stated that language diversity is a result of increased contact between people in the 21st-century global village. Scorells (2016, Sekimoto 2016) also stated that globalization refers to the process of bringing together peoples from different cultures in one common market. This makes it the most important word in academic studies. Butler (2009) stated the need to rethink how language is viewed in order to challenge the global dominance of English. Technology has enabled communication via social networks and cyber technology. Crystal et al . According to Crystal et al (2016), electronic channels like email and the worldwide web have increased interest in English usage. Prior to 1990, technology was dominated by English. The development of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter made it possible for people to start using their own languages on social media. This allowed for the creation of a new vocabulary and structures that can be used in English. Neulip (2015) demonstrates that information has become more centralized in modern technology, which can be linked to the dominance by the USA culture. Intercultural proficiency is essential to globalization. (Byram, 1997; Byram et al . ,2017; Fantini, 2009; Bennett, 1993) .
Intercultural communication can be used to solve intercultural conflicts between people of different cultural backgrounds. Many governments have adopted cultural education policies as part of their curriculum. Byram (1997) outlined that intercultural communication competence is a combination of knowledge and attitude. It also includes the ability to be flexible and open to new perspectives. This helps increase cultural awareness and reduce communication difficulties. Intercultural communication competence is the ability and willingness to communicate in cross-cultural settings. It also allows for interaction in various cultural contexts. (Bennett , 2004).
Researchers have stressed the importance of teaching intercultural communication to foreign language learners. EFL teachers should integrate culture to be able to communicate with students in third culture. (Kramsch 1993; 1998). English language has become a universal language of communication in today’s globalized world. It is important that language learners have a strong intercultural competency. English language learners must pay attention to intercultural communication competence. (Tran, Tham, 2017). 2002; Byram & Porto, 2015; Deodoroff, 2006; Fantini, 2000). Multiculturalism is an educational policy that responds to the demand for democracy and intercultural dialogue. It does not allow EFL students to complain about the effects of a divided educational environment. The results showed that intercultural communication should be an integral part of any educational policy. Many educational policies now adopt interculturalism in their pedagogy. In fact, ICC constitutes the core component in English language instruction and is used to prepare learners for intercultural communications (Byram,1997). Burnard et al . (2016) illustrated the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism. Multiculturalism refers to people who come from different countries and have contact with people of other cultures. Interculturalism is the inter relationship between cultures within diverse communities and acknowledges that cultural differences are socially necessary.
However, it seems that the EFL curriculum of a Lebanese school is not in line with this global trend. Unfortunately, in Lebanese school systems, intercultural communication is rarely taught. EFL Lebanese language learners struggled to communicate effectively within the cultural context. This research attempts to establish a link between intercultural communication and teaching English.
This research aims at integrating intercultural communication competences in English into primary classes in Lebanese school systems to increase cultural awareness, intrinsic motivation and proficiency in communicating in both written and oral contexts. This will allow them to think differently, to avoid stereotypes and tolerating other groups.
This research addresses intercultural communication skills in EFL Cycle II learners. Teaching intercultural skills at the primary level is essential. This is because learners should be able to use language skills in a variety of settings in secondary and intermediate levels. Young learners, on the other hand, are more open to diversity because they view it as part of society and don’t consider differences and values an obstacle to communication. Young learners tend to be more sensitive to the concept of “diversity and inclusion” than cultural boxes. According to Cross and Dervin (2016), young learners are more likely to adapt than adults.
Furthermore, the research is focused on the development of productive skills. Writing and speaking are key to the success in intercultural communication. Juan and Flors (2008, p. 3) insist that intercultural competency is a component to communicative competence. It enables learners of spoken and written communication to understand and produce specific sociocultural contexts. Harper (2014) stated that creative writing can be considered a cultural practice within social sciences, as it represents some aspects cultural phenomena in society. Therefore, it’s crucial to help learners learn how to use language to communicate fluently.
Communication is a basic human need. It depends on understanding and using a common language. English has become the first international language and lingua-franca due to the growth of globalization. Languages are used to communicate across cultures, resulting in miscommunications between people of different cultural backgrounds. Educational curriculums recently became interested in intercultural communications competence. They believe it will help EFL learners communicate well in written and verbal intercultural contexts. This research will examine the impact of intercultural communication competence on cycle II EFL learners from Lebanese public school in order to reduce anxiety and improve intercultural communication.