Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Archive for November, 2006

More on kinship terms

Posted by thuicc on November 25, 2006

In Thursday’s class, we discussed the different functions of language covered in our textbook. One part of the discussion that was particularly interesting to me was when we compared Chinese and English kinship terms and saw how the use of kinship terms in Chinese affects how English kinship terms are interpreted.

We found, for instance, that if I said, “My uncle is a farmer”, you felt a need to specify in their minds whether that uncle was on my father’s side or mother’s side, and whether the uncle was older or younger than my parent. (Some students automatically thought in terms of a father’s brother, but Weiting said she was closer to her mother’s side of the family, so thought in terms of a mother’s brother.) You also seemed a bit surprised when I suggested that if I said the same sentence to a native speaker of English, that person might (but probably wouldn’t) ask if I meant my father’s or my mother’s brother, and most likely wouldn’t wonder about whether or not the uncle was older or younger than my parent.

The powerful role of kinship terms is also discussed in “The Cultural Connotations and Communicative Functions of Chinese Kinship Terms” (American Communication Journal 3.3 [2000]). Shaorong Huang and Wenshan Jia argue that there are three main communicative functions served by kinship terms in Chinese:

  1. They serve a “linking function,” in that they serve as a way of connecting individuals to their social groups. Huang and Jia point out–as we did in class–that kinship terms are not just used among family members, but are also used to address non-family members.
  2. They serve a “mentation function”–meaning that they are involved in stimulating “the development of higher mental processes.”
  3. For instance, when a child addresses her maternal grandfather by the kinship term of [外祖父] “wai zu fu,” she may at least understand, or try to understand, the following: 1) she has a family relation with the old man, but the old man does not live in her family; 2) as a senior member, the old man has certain power over her, and she must respect and obey him; and 3) comparing with her paternal grandfather, this man is less powerful and less strict with her behavior. The single kinship term works as a stimulus in the child’s mind to help the child go through a complicated cognitive process.

  4. They serve a “regulatory function” because use of kinship terms “helps individuals regulate their personal behavior in speech communication.”

I’m not sure I agree with everything they say in this article (for instance, they imply a uniqueness for the Chinese family system that I’m not sure about–our textbook suggests that Indian kinship terms are also quite complicated). But the points I cited above extend what we were discussing on Thursday about how kinship terms fit into both the naming and the interactional functions of language.

Posted in cultural classifications, cultural patterns, language | 3 Comments »

Culture of Taiwan

Posted by tottietsai on November 24, 2006

I choose the article “Culture of Taiwan” for my Wikipedia project. I think this article indeed written some important aspects to decribe how Taiwan is like. In fact, I think this article can also be improved because in recent years Taiwan has generated some new cultrual features, such as cash card using, stalkerazzi or beef noodles.

After reading this article, I am agree with this article that “One of Taiwan’s greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum,” I think if the foreigners come to Taiwan, I will be very proud to introduce them this museum that represents the significance of the history of Taiwan. Then, This article contains 10 parts of some Taiwanese cultrual features. I will going to mention some of important parts. First, convenience stores really play a important role in Taiwan since Taiwan has become a commercialized country. Especailly for office workers and students, convience store can provide almost any daily things that they need. So, it is not unusaul for a person to go to convenience stores every day. Next, the cram school indeed is a growing industry in Taiwan. Because of the influence of Confucian, parents in Taiwan think that only studying is the one best thing. Also, parents in Taiwan think that they do not want their children lose in the beginning so they keep sending their children to cram school in order to get a higer schooling education. Then, for the Pili puppet show culture, which is Taiwanese important traditional culture. In fact, to see the Pili puppet in nowdays, I think the Pili puppet really has improved because it has put some new elements in it. For example, the Pili puppet nowdays would speak English, sing some popular songs, use teenagers’ slangs. The Pili puppet has make a combination between traditional and modern trend. And, when tallking to the food of Taiwan, I think this article can add more information about it. Beside Bubble tea, in Taiwan there are also some popular food. For example, beef noodles, Stinky tofu(臭豆腐), Fried white radish patty(蘿蔔糕), and also Betel nut(檳榔). The last part I want to mention is recreation. Karaoke is the most popular recreation nowadays for not only teenagers but also adults, and it is the way people release their stress. I think this article can add some compare in this article. Although Taiwan and Japan has Karaoke culture, these two countries has many difference on it because the different personality of each country people.

In fact, I think this article has pointed some important features of Taiwan and give enough description. However, I still think that there are something should be added. Like religion, I think it should add more information about it because as we can see foreigners are very curious about Taiwanese religion. Such as Taiwanese Buddhism, because in Taiwan, Buddhism is different from other countries’; it is conbine with Taoism and Taiwanese folk religion. Also, for the food part, it should add other food because Taiwan not only has Bubble tea popular. Overall, I think this article about the culture of Taiwan should be renewed because in recent years there indeed have many new things becomes trend in Taiwan.

Posted in Taiwan, Wikipedia project | Comments Off on Culture of Taiwan

Marvelous Wikipedia Project

Posted by meggie0125 on November 22, 2006

The article I choose for my Wikipedia assignment is “Taiwan under Dutch rule”. And after reading the article, I think it is a good model for presenting the history for readers. The article tries to use an object attitude to state the history of Dutch rule, and actually it achieves the goal.

The article contains some parts, it mentions about the purpose for the Dutch to occupy Taiwan, the immigrants from China during the Dutch period, the trade with other countries such as Japan, China and Persia, punitive attack performed by the Dutch on the aboriginal people and the ending of the Dutch period. Moreover, I find that the article gives detailed information about the punitive attacks. However, I still find some things that the article is lacking of. The narrator fairly states the history but he doesn’t mention directly about the influences the Dutch have had in Taiwan.

The ruling of Dutch should have three significances on the history of Taiwan. The article mentions that Taiwan became the Dutch colony after the first castle Fort Zealand and the second castle (Provintia) were built in Taiwan, and actually it is the first systematic regime in Taiwan’s history.

The second significance is the Sinckan language designed by the Dutch missionaries. The Dutch missionaries taught the Taiwanese aborigines to use romanized script. Because this kind of language was wide used in Sinckan, people would call it Sinckan Language. Taiwanese aborigines used the Sinckan language to write their own language, those written manuscripts now become an important and precious historical data for historians. Historians can study the early lives of the Taiwanese aborigines from the Sinckan manuscripts.

For the last significance, initial capitalism appeared in Taiwan during the ruling period of the Dutch. Originally, Taiwan is a tribal society, commerce with other countries is not common. but since the Dutch occupied Taiwan, the commerce with other countries became frequently. The Dutch were not only made big amount of profits by exporting the deer to Japan and China, but also exporting the rice and sugarcane to other countries. The initial capitalism thus appeared in this time.

People are not highly involved in the discussion part. As for the history part, most of the contexts of the article were remained until now; people seem to be concentrated on the part of the ending of the Dutch rule because it changed and modified by many times. In the initial version, the article doesn’t point that Koxinga is a pirate. It simply claims, “In 1661, a naval fleet led by the Ming loyalist Zheng Chenggong (Cheng Ch’eng-kung in Wade-Giles, known in the West as Koxinga), arrived in Taiwan to oust the Dutch from Zeelandia.” I think it would make the readers misunderstand Koxinga’s identity. The last part of the article provides a list of the Dutch governors, but I don’t think readers would pay much attention on that part. In my opinion, readers should know the truth and the significances within the history as well. (Nov.22, 2006)

Posted in Taiwan, Wikipedia project | Comments Off on Marvelous Wikipedia Project

Crazy Wikipedia Project: Economy of Taiwan

Posted by rachelhsu on November 21, 2006

When reading the article ”Economy of Taiwan” on Wikipedia, I think the way that people approach this issue is fairly optimistic. As a result, they failed to point out the economical dilemma we are facing now – whether to pour major investment in China, or we should try to expand our markets in European or other countries.

This article contains four parts, including economic development, foreign trade, agriculture and economic outlook. It mentions our transformation from labour-intensive society to high-techonology one. Moreover, it illustrates the economical importance of Taiwan in southeast Asia and our ambition to play an irreplaceable role! Here this article also mentions Taiwan’s lack of diplomatic relations which doesn’t hinder us from developing our commerce, and again the memberships of APEC, WTO, ADB indicate our determination to participate in the global economics. In the agriculture part, it merely points out that agriculture possesses a quite small part in our GDP and the impact on agriculture following after the joining of WTO. Last, this article presents some data and information about economics in Taiwan.

However, there are some aspects I think shouldn’t be neglected! In my own opinion, for foreigners who want to learn about Taiwan, they should pay attention to the following points: first, since Taiwan is now becoming a high-technology society, we should try to preserve and keep all the professional techniques, designing and organization system here (Whether Taiwanese companies realize the significance of this intellect resources while investing in China?); second, after joining WTO, agriculture in Taiwan is facing a new challenge of upgrading the value of our agricultural products (I think we do a very good job on this); third, if the lack of diplomatic relations ”really” don’t cause any hinderence on our economical development. (Taiwan had struggled to attain the membership of WTO – what if Taiwan could join earlier, we might be able to promote ourselves worldwide more effectively?!)

In the discussion part, I feel disappointed for not seeing them held up a deep and througly discussion about economy of Taiwan. Instead, they focus on whether Wikipedia should modify all the title related to Taiwan into Republic of China (which is a name few people recognize); in addition, even in the history part, despite of the data and some minor mistakes, people still focus on ”naming” most! There are modifications on People’s Republic of China into mainland China.

Since the rating of this article is only B, I hope there will be more people provide objective information and really give an insight about economy of Taiwan. (Nov. 20, 2006)

Posted in Taiwan, Wikipedia project | Comments Off on Crazy Wikipedia Project: Economy of Taiwan

The world of Islam

Posted by levonar on November 9, 2006

Muslim has the world-wide believers and the fastest growing rate as well, however, it has been considered as –“the religion which is easiest to be misunderstood.” The reason could be the difference between Western and Eastern Culture. Sometimes, the westerns have certain stereotype toward estern culture.They might think the easterns are mysterious, hard to unveil the secrets of life, and even consider the eastern world hasn’t well-civilized yet (both in life style, concepts toward value, the stability of politics and the degree of industrialization).

However, I think the religious idea of Islam is not so hard to understand. Most of the Islamic creeds are designed for the environmental conditions. The Five Pillars of Practice are actullay helping the Muslims live in the desert well. Therefore, if the Non-Muslims would like take a positive attitude to understand the basic meaning of Islam, the misunderstanding between Muslims and Non-Muslims could be getting less and less. It can also make the world more peaceful as well.

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Exchange with our partners in Kuwait

Posted by thuicc on November 4, 2006

If you haven’t gone there yet, be sure to visit our Kuwaiti partners’ class website and respond to their questions about Taiwan.

Posted in assignments, Kuwait, Taiwan, websites | Comments Off on Exchange with our partners in Kuwait

WikiProject Taiwan

Posted by thuicc on November 4, 2006

According to its page on Wikipedia, WikiProject Taiwan

is intended as a politically-neutral platform for all contributors interested in increasing Wikipedia’s coverage of Taiwan-related articles, including but not limited to: History (of all time periods), culture, people, military, geography, science, politics and religion.

You can check it out and see what they’re trying to do to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of Taiwan.

Posted in media, Taiwan, websites | Comments Off on WikiProject Taiwan

Questions about the Music and dance of Kuwait

Posted by theresewu on November 2, 2006

HELLO everyone~
This is Teresa. I’ve read some articles about the culture of Kuwait and I find the traditional music of Kuwait is interesting such as the Al-Fann, Al-Fareesa and Al Arda Al Bahariya and I have some questions about them.

I know that the Al-Fann is a kind of wedding song and also the Al-Khamary and Al-Sameri are both the wedding dance. Does that mean that those wedding dance and music are necessary performed on the wedding ceremony or nowadays they are just performed as a kind of traditional dance and music?

Also about the Al-Fareesa, I know that it’s a dance which women need to be disguised as men and it’s a battle between a horseman and 2 attackers which is quite special and i wanna know if there is an interesting reason/ cause of this special dance?

At last, since Taiwanese young people who like to dance mostly would prefer dancing New Jazz and Hip-Hop (ex. girls mostly prefer New Jazz and boys prefer hip-hop), i curious about that what kind of dance do the young people of Kuwait mostly prefer dancing?

I’ll be very happy to get your responses! ^-^

Posted in arts, Kuwait, media, popular culture | Comments Off on Questions about the Music and dance of Kuwait