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Vol 28, No. 2 (January 2011)

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Developing Intercultural Communicative Competence through Online Exchanges

Dorothy M. Chun, University of California, Santa Barbara

Based on Byram’s (1997) definition of intercultural communicative competence (ICC) and on specific types of discourse analysis proposed by Kramsch and Thorne (2002) and Ware and Kramsch (2005), this article explores how online exchanges can play a role in second language learners’ development of pragmatic competence and ICC. With data obtained from an intercultural exchange between students learning German in an American university and students studying English at a German university, we illustrate how culture is embedded in language as discourse, how “language learners have to negotiate new ways not only of interpreting the content of utterances, but also of navigating interactional pragmatics” (Ware & Kramsch, p. 201), and how advanced learners of German as a foreign language and English as a foreign language employ different discourse styles in their online postings as they seek to understand the discourse genres of their partners.

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