On the Role of Native Culture in Intercultural Communication and Foreign Language Teaching

WANG Xiaohai

School of English for International Business, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou 510420, P. R. China

Email: wangxhai@gdufs.edu.cn

Abstract: Intercultural communication is a bidirectional interaction, in which the purpose of communication is not only mutual understanding and sharing of culture, but also cultural influence and to some extent the success of the latter is more important. Consequently, the competence of intercultural communication in Foreign Language Teaching (FLT) should be bidirectional as well, that is, understanding the cultural knowledge of the target language on the one hand, and systematically understanding the native culture on the other. However, the emphasis of FLT in the Chinese context places more weight on introducing the ‘foreign’ than on teaching the ‘native’ culture, thus leading to varying degrees of ‘Chinese Culture Aphasia’ in students and scholars. This paper argues that Chinese culture is the basis of intercultural communication; it is not only conducive to improving learners’ intercultural competence, but also facilitates them to promote Chinese culture since they can speak the foreign languages.

Key words Culture, Chinese culture, foreign language teaching, Intercultural communication.

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