n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Potensiële nie-verbale spanning in die kommunikasie tussen Eurosentriese en Afrosentriese kulture - 'n perspektief op tweedetaalonderrig

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



This article endeavours to answer the following questions: Which nonverbal differences in the communication between people from Afrocentric cultures and Eurocentric cultures will create some form of tension? What would the implications be for the L2-instructor? This article focuses only on those aspects of nonverbal communication that can play a role during L2-acquisition, namely Kinesics - forms of greeting, gestures and oculesics; Proxemics - the use of personal space and touching behaviour; Paralinguistics - pronunciation and the use of volume, tempo and pitch; and Chronemics - the use of time. The line of argument is grounded in the Affective Filter Hypothesis within the Natural Approach and L2 acquisition theory which indicates that the lowering of anxiety on the one hand and the expansion of comprehensible input on the other hand would be advantageous to the learning and acquisition of a new language. A qualitative survey was done where 215 Afrocentric respondents were interviewed in a semi- structured way to identify possible differences in the nonverbal communication. Through inductive reasoning the following possible aspects where tension can create problems in L2-acquisition were identified: unfamiliarity with the cultural rules of the learners; uncertainty about the intentionality or unintenionality of the nonverbal behaviour; the ambiguous nature of certain nonverbal signals; wrong perceptions and the racial stereotyping of all nonverbal signs; lack of effective comprehension due to the differences between so-called low context (Eurocentric) and high context (Afrocentric) cultures; the possible negative effect of unnecessary overcompensation; and uncertainty about the issue which culture's nonverbal behaviour should dominate in a given interaction. Therefore, the instructor should know the cultural use of the nonverbal behaviour of the learners that well that he / she would be able to use appropriate and unambiguous nonverbal behaviour that is comprehensible to them, as well as interpret the learners. nonverbal signals according to their cultural usage.

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