Cultural Conceptualization and Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding in Iranian English
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 3, Issue 6, November 2015, Pages: 353-359
Received: Sep. 21, 2015; Accepted: Oct. 4, 2015; Published: Oct. 19, 2015
Views 4399      Downloads 144
Mehdi Solhi Andarab, English Preparatory Program, Istanbul Medipol University, Istanbul, Turkey
Asgar Mahmoudi, Department of English Language, Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran
Article Tools
Follow on us
Cross-cultural Misunderstanding has always been a conundrum for individuals who involve in intercultural communication. Coming from different cultural backgrounds, individuals tend to behave in a way that is appropriate to their own cultural norms which might pose serious problems for them. These cultural norms are what Sharifian (2010) titles cultural conceptualizations. Cultural conceptualizations are conceptual structures such as schemas, categories, and metaphors that come into existence as a result of interactions between members of a cultural group. This study elaborates on a number of important Iranian cultural schemas, such as ‘expressing thankfulness’, ‘making request’ and ‘complimenting’, and explores how these cultural schemas can potentially culminate in cross-cultural misunderstanding when communicating in English. This study argues in favor of enhancing people’s meta-cultural competence, which is a prerequisite for successful communication in contexts in which English operates as an international language.
Cultural Conceptualizations, Cultural Schemas, Intercultural Competence
To cite this article
Mehdi Solhi Andarab, Asgar Mahmoudi, Cultural Conceptualization and Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding in Iranian English, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 3, No. 6, 2015, pp. 353-359. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20150306.16
Copyright © 2015 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Allen, H. W., & Herron, C. (2003). A mixed-methodology investigation of the linguistic and affective outcomes of summer study abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 36, pp.370–385.
Alptekin, C. (2010). Redefining multicompetence for bilingualism and ELF. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 20(1), pp. 95–110.
Baker‐Smemoe, W., Dewey, D. P., Bown, J., & Martinsen, R. A. (2014). Variables affecting L2 gains during study abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 47(3), pp. 464–486.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2013). Awareness of meaning of conventional expressions in second-language pragmatics. Language Awareness, 23(1-2), 41-56.
Beeman, W. O. (1986). Language, Status, and Power in Iran. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Benson, M. (1994). Lecture comprehension in an ethnographic perspective. In J. Flowerdew (Ed.), Academic Listening: Research perspectives (pp. 181–198). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Brown, P., & Levinson, S. L. (1988). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cameron, D. (2001). Working with spoken discourse. London: Sage.
Cui, X. (2014). Getting to the source: An instrument for examining the dynamics of problematic interactions. RELC Journal, 45(2), 197- 210.
Davis, J. M. (2007). Resistance to L2 pragmatics in the Australian ESL context. Language Learning, 57(4), pp. 611–649.
Dudley-Evans, T., & St-John, M. J. (1998). Developments in English for specific purposes: A multidisciplinary approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Eslami Rasekh, Z. (2005). Invitations in Persian and English: ostensible or genuine? Intercultural Pragmatics Journal, 2(4), 453– 480.
Graddol, D. (1996). The Future of English? London: British Council.
Gumperz, J. J. (1999). Sociocultural knowledge in conversational inference. In A. Jaworski, & N. Coupland (Eds.), The discourse reader (pp. 191–211).
Johnstone, B. (2008). Discourse analysis (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Kasper, G., & Blum-Kulka, S. (1993). Interlanguage pragmatics: An introduction. In G. Kasper & S. Blum-Kulka (Eds.), Interlanguage pragmatics (pp. 1–17). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kinginger, C. (2011). G. Schauer: Interlanguage pragmatic development: The study abroad context. Continuum, 2009. Applied Linguistics, 32(5), pp.572–584.
Kinginger, C. (2013). Identity and language learning in study abroad. Foreign language Annals,46(3), pp.339–358.
Lanas, M. (2014). Failing intercultural education? ‘Thoughtfulness’ in intercultural education for student teachers. European Journal of Teacher Education,37(2), pp.171–182.
Littlemore, J., Trautman Chen, P., Koester, A., & Barnden, J. (2011). Difficulties in metaphor comprehension faced by international students whose first language is not English. Applied Linguistics, 32(4), pp.408– 429.
Littlemore, J. 2001. Metaphor as a source of misunderstanding for overseas students in academic lectures. Teaching in Higher Education, (6)3, pp.333–351.
Matsuda, A. (2003). Incorporating world Englishes in teaching English as an international language. TESOL Quarterly, 37(4), 719–29.
McKay, S. L. (2003). The cultural basis of teaching English as an international language, TESOL Matters, 13(4), 1–2. Retrieved from =1000.
Paltridge, B. (2012). Discourse analysis (2nd ed.). London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
Schmitt, N. (2014). Size and depth of vocabulary knowledge: What the research shows. Language Learning.64(4), pp. 913– 951.
Seidlhofer, B. (2003). A concept of international English and related issues: From ‘real English’ to ‘realistic English’. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Retrieved from seidlhoferen.pdf
Sharifian, F. (2009). English as an International Language: An Overview. In F. Sharifian (eds), English as an International Language Perspectives and Pedagogical Issues. Multilingual Matters, (pp. 1 - 18).
Sharifian, F. (2010). Glocalization of English in World Englishes: An Emerging Variety among Persian Speakers of Englis. In M. Saxena and T. Omoniyi (eds). Contending with Globalization in World Englishes. Multilingual Matters. (pp.137-158).
Spencer-Oatey, H., & Žegarac, V. (2010). Pragmatics. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), An introduction to applied linguistics (2nd ed.) (pp. 70–88). London: Hoder & Stoughton Ltd.
Taguchi, N. (2008). Cognition, language contact, and the development of pragmatic comprehension in a study-abroad context. Language Learning, 58(1), 33–71.
Wardhaugh, R., & Fuller J. M. (2015). An introduction to sociolinguistics (7th ed.). London: Wiley-Blackwell.
Watson, J. R, Siska, P., & Wolfel, R. L (2013). Assessing gains in language proficiency, Cross‐cultural competence, and regional awareness during study abroad: A preliminary study. Foreign Language Annals, 46(1), pp.62–79.
Widdowson, H. G. (1994). The ownership of English. TESOL Quarterly 28(2), pp. 377-88.
Zareva, A. (2010). Multicompetence and L2 users’ associative links: Being unlike native like. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 20(1), 2–22.
Zheng. Y. (2014). The fluctuating development of cross- linguistic semantic awareness: A longitudinal multiple-case study. Language Awareness, 23(4), 369–388.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186