She states that pragmatic failure refers to “The inability to understand of what is meant by what is said” G. Leech(1983) said “the transfer of the norms of one community to another may well lead to pragmatic failure’. In other words, pragmatic failure refers to the communication breakdown because of not realizing the cultural differences. Pragmatic rules are needed in order to Leviers (1 983: 376) notes that there is considerable room for intercultural understanding.
It is undoubted that both grammatical error and pragmatic failure may irritate or hinder communication. For years there has been an increasing interest in the study of pragmatic failure and acquisition of pragmatic competence (Cohen and Lashing 1981; Blue-Kulak 1982; Samovar 2000 and Gasper 2001 These studies have established that people might fail to communicate effectively even when they have excellent grammatical and lexical command of the target language. Some works on pragmatic failure have appeared in the English literature in China( Me-Ixia Line,2008).
With the acceleration of globalization and especially China’s entry into World Trade Organization, international business communication is becoming more and more important and the interaction between China and other country is becoming more and more frequent-With the acceleration of globalization and especially China’s entry into World Trade Organization, international business communication is coming more and more important and the interaction between China and western countries is becoming more and more frequent.However, it’s unavoidable that people may face various problems in intercultural communication. This is, to some extent, because the body language, verbal communication and cultural formalities are different in different countries.
Therefore,it is needed that pragmatic failures should be paid attention. This research project aims to explore the pragmatic failure in the intercultural business communication between China and western countries and the causes of pragmatic failure. In addition, it also tries to make some suggestions for resolving the problems. . 1 Research Questions The purpose of the research is to find out: 1 . What pragmatic failure may occur in intercultural communication between China and western countries and what are the causes of pragmatic failure? 2. How can the pragmatic failure be minimized in intercultural communication between China and western countries? 2.
Previous study on pragmatic failures in intercultural communication Jenny Thomas(1983) who defines the phrase “pragmatic failure” stated in her thesis that pragmatic failure can hinder the intercultural communication.The hearer may fail to capture the speaker’s meaning as some misunderstanding may occur in some specific communication circumstances. It suggests that in most cases, it happens when the speaker and the hearer have different cultural background or different linguistic customs. The study also focuses on the solutions for pragmatic failure and proposes that we should realize the cross-cultural differences and recognize the programming cystic distinctions. Another famous linguistic G. Points out that pragmatic failure can result in the intercultural communication breakdown.
Moreover, G. Leech also proposes some principles of pragmatic which have positive guidance in avoiding pragmatic failures in intercultural communication such as the politeness principle, the cooperative principles and so on. In order to make it more convincing, the study of implicative, negation, cost and benefit, means- end analysis is done in his thesis. Moreover, the study is also concerned with the limitation in studying every details of pragmatic in intercultural communication which shows us the complexity and broad scope of pragmatic.In addition, Manuel Patella Cruz(2013)has done a study in understanding and resolving pragmatic in international communication. The study lays emphasis on the focus from hearers to speakers, using the method of exemplifications. A lot of examples relating to the hearers and speakers in intercultural communication are included in the study.
Besides, he proposes a phrase called “cautious optimism” which means that to some extent, hearers should be responsible for the pragmatic failure because of his over-optimism with the language competence of the speakers.The study illustrates the benefits of cautious optimism, it is considered that cautious optimism nutrients to the effective intercultural communication where the interlocutors are not relatively competent in the intercultural communication. It is also suggested that further research is needed in testing, formalization, analyzing more data and study in intercultural communication. 3. Methodology In order to investigate what pragmatic failure may OCCUr in intercultural communication between China and western countries, a questionnaire is designed and conducted(appendix 1).
00 questionnaires are distributed to 100 people in China by sending E-mail. The occupations of these people are aired, varying from the university students, employees in international trade company, oversea tour guides and so on. The subjects involved are required to answer these questions and those questionnaires are sent back to me. After analyzing the data of the question naira, the people who choose the inappropriate answers are asked with several questions about the reason why they choose the inappropriate answers.In addition, this study also uses the method of collecting and analyzing some pragmatic failure cases in order to give some suggestions for solving the problems. 4. Findings In general, the questionnaire indicates that the rates of pragmatic failures vary from 32% to accounts for a large portion in total.
According to the questionnaire results we can see that pragmatic failure is becoming a common phenomenon in intercultural communication-Moreover,it can be inferred that pragmatic failures occur in many aspects of intercultural communication. 5.Analyzing the Forms and the Causes of Pragmatic Failure According to the data results of the questionnaires, some people who choose the inappropriate answers are asked some questions about the causes of the pragmatic failures. The analysis for the pragmatic failures is as follows.
5. 1 Pragmatic Failures in Greetings Greeting plays an important role in the communication with others, it is mostly used at the beginning of a conversation with others. Mark L that greetings is a act which initiates the communication and it is a very effective way to establish a good communication.
It is widely believe that greeting can be different under different cultural. In the questionnaire, question 1 is designed according to the different habits between China and western countries in greeting. In china, “Have you eaten yet? Does not mean that the speaker want to know whether the hearer have eaten or not, it stands for a kind of greeting which is generally equal with saying hello to sob. According to the result of the questionnaire, 32% of the people surveyed make mistakes in this question. They just transfer the Chinese thinking into the greetings in communication with people in western countries.Therefore, the intercultural communication is likely to be less effective when using the inappropriate way of greeting. 5. 2 Pragmatic Failure in Responding to Thanks and Compliments Expressing thanks and compliments benefits both speaker and hearer, it is generally lived that almost no one dislikes compliments and receiving thanks from others.
However, knowing how to respond thanks and compliments is always important for the intercultural communication. As for the questions and questions, 42% and 53% people choose the wrong answer respectively.It is mostly because their basic principles in responding thanks and compliments are varied with people in western countries. According to Shanghai(2012), responding thanks and compliments in china follow the modesty principles with which people always show denial attitudes and avoidance behaviors. For example, when Chinese people respond to thanks and compliments, their responses are much like the D option in question 4, showing the denial response in order to follow the modesty principles. However, it is much more appropriate to just express a simple “Thank you.
” 5. Pragmatic Failure in Privacy and Taboo Privacy and Taboo is always a sensitive topic in intercultural communication. It is always considered to be impolite to invade others’ privacy. However, people in different cultural have different recognition in defining what is privacy. In the questionnaire, many people surveyed choose the invitation topic like age, occupation, religion. However, in western culture, it is inappropriate to talk about such these topics in most cases. The cause of these problems is people’s lack of understanding with privacy and taboos in other cultural.For instances, most people surveyed do not know that opening the gift straight away is a way of showing respect to others.
Even some of them consider that it is a disrespectful behavior and claim that it is rude to do 5. 4 Pragmatic Failure in Social Etiquette Generally speaking, social etiquette’s are the standards of social behaviors eased on the conventional norms. However, according to Amok Three Rivers(1991), social etiquette conflict may happen due to different cultural backgrounds or different customs. In the questionnaire, question 7-9 are designed to examine Chinese people’s understanding in western social etiquette’s.
However, some people surveyed choose the inappropriate answers because of the lack of comprehension about some western social etiquette’s. Most of the people who choose the inappropriate answers claim that they have never met such these situation or they have not heard about these social etiquette. Therefore, some misunderstanding and problems may occur in the intercultural communication.
6. Conclusion The study aims to find out what pragmatic failures may occur in intercultural communication between China and western countries and how to minimize the pragmatic failures by the method of analyzing questionnaires and reference.Overall, the study shows that pragmatic failures happen frequently in several forms. For example, pragmatic failures in greeting, responding thanks and compliment, privacy and taboos, social etiquette’s. The causes of these problems are various, the lack of understanding about other’s u Trial background, the mistake of transferring their own cultural into the intercultural communication and so on. According to the results and the references, Chinese people’s intercultural awareness should be raised and more attention should be paid in pragmatic failures in intercultural communication.
There are some limitations and recommendations for further research. For example, the subjects are not many, so choosing diversified subjects would achieve more effective results. The suggestions provided are not detailed enough to reduce or avoid pragmatic failure, which till needs to be explored in the further research. At present, the research Of pragmatic failure in intercultural communication has important theoretic meaning and realistic value in the contemporary linguistic study.Since this is only a preliminary pragmatic analysis, further investigations and more researches are needed to carry out from the different perspectives.
Due to the restricted time, the complexity of this issue and especially the limitation of my knowledge and experience, there are still some problems and deficiencies in this project. I expect that some further studies can be implemented in the true. 6. 1 Recommendation In order to minimize the pragmatic problems, some suggestions are proposed according to the pragmatic failures phenomenon in China.Initially, because most of the pragmatic failures are caused by the lack of intercultural knowledge, it is necessary to enhance the intercultural education towards Chinese people so that their intercultural awareness can be raised. The intercultural knowledge can be spread through many ways such as school education, public media.
Specifically, school should increase the intercultural education especially in the English teaching class. Besides, public media would also increase the publicity about intercultural communication and how to avoid pragmatic failures.In addition, it is recommended that people should use the adaptation theory which is proposed by Overreaches in 1987 in his Pragmatic as a Theory of Linguistic Adaptation facing the pragmatic failures from others.
Adaptation theory means that it is necessary to adapt to different cultural backgrounds and different contexts in intercultural communication. It is advisable to tolerate other’s pragmatic failures and try to put ourselves in other’s position. Moreover, it is recommended to try to monomaniac more with people in different cultural backgrounds.Learning more intercultural knowledge from books, teaching or public media is necessary, however, it is impossible to get understanding about all the pragmatic failures without communicating with people under different cultural backgrounds. 6. Limitation This study aims to find out what pragmatic failures may occur and the causes and the solutions to these problems by using the method of questionnaire and asking question with the people who choose inappropriate answers in china.
However,one limitation is that the the materials related to the topic is insufficient.