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Intercultural Questioning, Discovery and Tension in Internet-Mediated Language Learning Partnerships

Language and Intercultural Communication Volume 5, Number 1, ISSN 1470-8477


This paper examines the use of questioning as an index of intercultural competence (IC) in an Internet-mediated, German-American language learning partnership. Such telecollaborative, intercultural exchanges are becoming increasingly more common as a means of providing students at one location with cost-effective access to distally located representatives of the "languaculture" under study (Agar, 1994); nevertheless, researchers have not paid close attention to the linguistic characterisation of the development of IC in such partnerships, despite the fact that text- based computer-mediated communication currently constitutes the primary means of telecollaborative interaction. In his well-known model of IC, Byram (1997) links the use of appropriate questioning techniques to the operation of skills of discovery, one means by which speakers in intercultural encounters may develop impressions and attitudes of one another. I examine the ways in which the number, type, chronological placement and content of the questions posed by participants each side of a trans-Atlantic exchange may influence the processes of impression formation in intercultural personal relationship building. Suggestions are made for ways in which research on computer-mediated relationship building in communication studies and foreign language education may enrich one another. (Contains 2 tables and 2 notes.)


Belz, J.A. (2005). Intercultural Questioning, Discovery and Tension in Internet-Mediated Language Learning Partnerships. Language and Intercultural Communication, 5(1), 3-39. Retrieved December 4, 2021 from .

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