II Всеукраинская научно-практическая конференция «Актуальные проблемы преподавания иностранных языков для профессионального общения». Том 3

Chukhno T.V.

The Customs Academy of Ukraine, Dnipropetrovsk


In our time of globalization, we have more to share with than ever before in terms of culture – beliefs, views, values, attitudes and ideologies – but at the same time much of them remains different and unshared, which is enhanced by raising people’s awareness of cultural, ethnic, and religious identities.

The Internet and modern technology have opened up new marketplaces, and allow us to promote our businesses to new geographic locations and cultures. Today, we communicate beyond the national borders by e-mailing, chatting, blogging, web browsing besides speaking and writing. In these days of global networking, we are thrown into the society of changing and conflicting cultures, where we are expected to become pluricultural individuals.

It’s natural to have difficulty adjusting to a new culture. People from other cultures may have grown up with values and beliefs that differ from yours. Because of these differences, the things they talk about, the ways they express themselves, and the importance of various ideas may be very different from what you are used to. This situation is called culture shock and it is a condition that affects people who travel to a country different from their own. The term describes a traveler’s feelings of bewilderment when the environment and culture change from the one that he or she is familiar with. The unfamiliar surroundings, foreign language and strange habits of a new country can all contribute to culture shock. Although culture shock is a state of mind, it can result in many symptoms, both physical and mental.

If living in a new country, the best way to deal with culture shock is to integrate slowly. Culture shock is not just suffered by those who travel and live abroad. Any change in surroundings can bring about the feeling of culture shock. If a person leaves home for the first time and goes to college, then the new environment and new experiences may be a shock to the system.

Effective communication with people of different cultures is especially challenging. Cultures provide people with ways of thinking – ways of seeing, hearing, and interpreting the world. Thus the same words can mean different things to people from different cultures, even when they talk the “same” language. When the languages are different and translation has to be used to communicate, the potential for misunderstandings increases.

The facts of reality witness that the English language has become the world language and the language of business, science and culture. It means not only the growth of this language’s influence on other languages; it also means the growth of the cultural influence. The culture that is behind the English language increases its influence every day. That is why it is important to teach students cross-cultural values and attitudes and their impact on how we communicate across cultures.

At the same time we can say that the more influential culture is, the more interested is the language that is in this culture. The interest in a culture means the growth of the interest to a language, and vice versa. It is a very good way of motivating foreign language learners so the teacher can use the cultural aspects for actualization of some linguistic aspects.

Culture and language are intimately related. Culture influences the structure and functional use of language and language can be thought of as the result of culture. Language influences our thinking and world view, so, we can say that there is no clear image of a culture without knowledge of a language, and there is no clear acquisition of a language without image of a culture.

Scholars emphasize that there are two ways of the cross-cultural competence formation. Usually, they are used parallel to each other.

The first way is teaching across cultures during the lessons of a given foreign language. For instance, we can use the texts about cultural peculiarities, discussions about different customs and traditions in different languages. We can compare the features of the housing and holidays, the attitude towards the family and career. In most cases it means that we teach culture of the target language indirectly. The students will absorb the notions and values within the studying of the language. The limitation of this way is that the students can not understand clearly the real difference between native and target cultures because it can not be explained thoroughly within the lessons of the foreign language.

The second way of the cross-cultural competence is the formation of a block of disciplines that can supply appropriate level of the cross-cultural competence additionally or simultaneously with the other skills of the language competence. It can be achieved through the combination of linguistic, psychological and other humanities. The block of the disciplines includes culture study of the English language, literature of the English language with selective reading of some samples that are the most characteristic for the given style or period of time. The other part of the block is country study, and political system study. Within the theory of translation, a separate part should be devoted to the cultural differences in translations, the means of translation in this case and the contemporary problems of theory of translation.

Thus foreign language learning involves the acquisition of the second identity. This creation of a new identity is at the heart of culture learning, which is a process of creating shared meaning between cultural representatives. It is experiential, a process that continues over years of language learning, and penetrates deeply into one’s patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting.

Though there are stereotypes which describe the standards and the values that guide the behavior of representatives of different cultures, the teachers should teach their students not to blindly follow the stereotypes because each person within this or that culture is unique.

The language teacher and researcher, in a dialog with each other, can be a part of a creative event by fashioning an integrated and cohesive understanding of how learners acquire the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in a second language, taking into consideration peculiarities of different cultures communication norms.