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ET322: Intercultural Pragmatics


How does miscommunication work? Are the rules of politeness universal? Why is it sometimes difficult to know what is appropriate in a different language? In this module you build on your earlier study of pragmatics by focusing on concepts related to intercultural pragmatics. You have the opportunity to analyse and reflect critically on pragmatic issues arising from language use in different intercultural and multilingual contexts. You will have the opportunity to work with real life data and increase your understanding of the affective power of language and issues of appropriateness in language use.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Engage critically with current issues in Intercultural Pragmatics.
  • Demonstrate profound understanding and skills in analysing how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning, and sensitivity to the affective power of language and appropriateness in language use.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches for the study of Intercultural Pragmatics.
  • Design and carry out independent research in Pragmatics.

Learning Experience


Core content will be presented during weekly 2-hour lectures.


We will meet in a weekly 1-hour small-group seminar to practice and apply course concepts.



2500-word assignment (70%)

Group project

Group presentation (30%)

Preparatory Reading

  • Spencer-Oatey, H. (2008). Culturally speaking: Culture, communication and politeness theory (2nd Edition). London: Bloomsbury.

Academic Staff

Duncan Lees