Cross-Cultural Break in Communication

By now, most people might know the anecdote of Congolese Guy Goma being mistaken for Guy Kewney during a BBC News television interview. Yeah, "it's soooo last week!"
Some interesting things about this case. His facial expressions are the subject of discussion. Pretty much like in a "funniest videos" clip but with just a pinch of culture specificity. Then, the issue which doesn't seem to be discussed much but which also relates to cultural communication, it might be the case that Goma's "good manners" (i.e., cultural background) give value to strategies meant to save the interlocutor's "face." If Goma had directly responded by saying that was not in fact the expected guest, the interviewer's reputation would have been put in jeopardy. Of course, the effect was even stronger as the anecdote has gone through the whole Web and media loop. But even then, the responsibility for the mishap has been diffused and the "bomb" of face-threatening acts has been "defused."

About enkerli

French-speaking ethnographer, homeroaster, anthropologist, musician, coffee enthusiast. View all posts by enkerli

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: