Friday, September 25, 2015

Is it you? - Mining intercultural communication content

Students of Cathy Silber's Intercultural Communication Class.

On Tuesday I got to visit with the students of Cathy Silber's Intercultural Communication class who are closely examining the nature of communication and the understanding and misunderstanding that can occur depending on context and background. On this day, we talked about all the different understandings that can occur in simple English phrases. With 60 minutes together, after a quick introduction about "Readers Chorus" we dove right in to mining content for a new Readers Chorus piece.

The following is a list of all the expressions that were generated and will be turned into a new Readers Chorus piece.

Are you coming?
Is it you?
What's going on?
What's the case?
Do you want [a] change?
Do you need anything?
Shut up.
He can't help himself.
She can't help herself.
It'll be light.
You're right.
How are you doing?
I'm done.
I took care of him.
Are you awake?

We also learned some new expressions - -

"Is it you?" - A wonderful Turkish expression--not really a question, but rather an affirmation and space filler. For example upon coming home, someone might call out "Is it you?" acknowledging your presence.

"Seasons" - In Dutch culture one can express their age by describing it in terms of the season they were born. A Spring born person could say, "I'm 18 springs young." It reminded me of the expression that sushi chefs always ask at the counter when they realize I am Japanese, "Where is your country?" Meaning where in Japan are you from? In Japan, it wouldn't be anything special, but there's something about being asked that question here that is reassuring and a moment of shared connection. 

"It'll be lit."- (this was just new for me and Cathy!)
Haruko: "You mean like, "the party'll be bompin'?" 
Student: "Yes, but no one's said that for years."