Kaskabassova Kh.S., Utebaliyeva G.Ye.



Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan



About intercultural competence in the context of linguistic consciousness



No culture exists independently - this is an objective fact of intercultural communication. In the process of its activity, each culture always turns either to its past or to the experience of other cultures. In this interaction, the communication of cultures is evident, namely its bearers in different “languages”, systems of signs - the special forms of the human culture existence. According to A.A. Leontiyev language may be regarded as a system of guidelines necessary for a person’s activity in the world of his native culture, i.e. in the social or objective world, and consciousness as “the worldview opening to the subject, which includes him, his actions and conditions” [1:272]. The human ability to create the systems of signs simultaneously creates a problem of understanding and perception of foreign cultures [2:23]. There is reason to believe that the main reason for the lack of understanding in intercultural communication is not the difference in languages ​​- to form the skills of speaking (writing) and listening (reading) is relatively simple, but the difference of national consciousness of communicants. Moreover the closer the cultures are, the more difficult their mutual adaptation. To analyze the problems of mutual understanding (misunderstanding) in intercultural communication, it is advisable to understand the problem of “communication of bearers of different national cultures” as a problem of “communication of the bearers of different national consciousness” [3:9], or bearers of different linguistic consciousness. In modern linguistics the linguistic consciousness is an actual category and is understood as a reflection of a specific language structure in the consciousness of the native speaker, furthermore the linguistic consciousness is considered as a set of laws, rules and regularities of the language use at the level of skills.  According to another point of view, the linguistic consciousness is a mechanism for controlling the speech activity, which is an obligatory condition for the existence and development of all forms of consciousness. Regardless of the approach angle in which this category is considered, all phenomena of linguistic consciousness are directly related to the formation of the intercultural competence of the secondary linguistic persona. 

Undoubtedly, the main condition for mutual understanding in intercultural communication is the stability and universality of the global worldview, and the possibility of mutual understanding between the bearers of different cultures and languages ​​lies in the generality of the mental processes of processing and acquiring of knowledge by human consciousness [4:173]. In the implementation of this condition, the big role is assigned to the language of communication common to the bearers of different cultures and languages. The language culture of interethnic communication is as higher as higher the culture of the national language is, and the culture of language is inseparable from the general cultural level of the population. Otherwise, the level of multilingualism and the quality of non-mother/foreign language acquisition depends on the degree of knowledge and use of the native language by a secondary linguistic persona.   


The role of native culture as a means of learning a foreign culture, as well as of a foreign culture for learning the native one, such as interculture is well recognized and widely used in the teaching of foreign languages. Interculture arises in intercultural communication as a totality.

1)      the cognitive means of native culture, attracted to the cognition of means of the foreign culture;

2)      new knowledge about a foreign culture, formed in the process of its cognition;

3)      new knowledge about native culture, created in the process of cognition of a foreign culture [5:16].

Every language in its own way divides the world, i.e. has its own way of conceptualization, therefore, each language has a special worldview, and the linguistic persona is obliged to organize the content of the utterance in accordance with this view [6:64]. The language worldview forms the type of people’s attitude to the world (nature, animals, themselves as elements of the world). It sets the norms of human behavior in the world, determines his attitude to the world. Every natural language reflects the certain way of perception and organization (“conceptualizing”) of the world.  Expressed in it values ​​are formed into a single system of views, a kind of collective philosophy, which is imposed as mandatory for all native speakers. Thus, the language role is not only in the transmission of the message, but primarily in the internal organization of what is to be reported. There is a kind of “space of values”, i.e. knowledge about the world fixed in the language, where the national-cultural experience of a specific linguistic community is necessarily got involved. The world of speaking this language is being formed, i.e. the linguistic worldview as a set of knowledge about the world, impressed in vocabulary, phraseology, grammar [6:65]. Secondary language persona, comprehending the target language and acquiring the knowledge about foreign culture, thereby increases its linguistic consciousness, changing its content to acceptable in the culture of the target language depending on the goals of intercultural communication. In this case, we mean the cultural adaptation of a secondary linguistic persona.  

The most important component of intercultural communication is the cultural adaptation (acculturation) of the secondary linguistic persona. Acculturation may be understood as the behavioral strategies of a secondary linguistic persona aimed at finding a balance between own and foreign cultures in order to identify differences and similarities between cultures and to identify the target culture as “own” or foreign”. The following adaptation strategies are identified in the culture of the secondary linguistic persona: 

1)       the refusal of one's own culture and full acceptance of a foreign culture - assimilation

2)       the preservation in their behavior of the advantages of native and foreign culture in individual proportions - integration; 

3)       the preservation of their norms and values as a counter to the foreign ones - separation;

4)       the refusal of both cultures - marginalization;

Undoubtedly, the first two - assimilation and integration - should be considered as possible effective strategies for finding its place in culture by the secondary linguistic persona and successful using the acquired knowledge in the target language. Formation of optimal and effective adaptation strategies to the foreign culture should become one of the objectives of the “intercultural communication” subject. In this case it is rightfully to talk about the formation of intercultural competence - an obligatory component of communicative competence as the goal of teaching non-native or target language. Intercultural competence may be considered as a meaningful form of linguistic consciousness of the secondary linguistic persona, which combines the knowledge of native culture, acquired knowledge of foreign culture, acculturation strategies, as well as the acquired ability to communicate with representatives of a different culture. Intercultural competence is based on the ability of a secondary linguistic persona to understand the limitation of own culture and own language with respect to solving the problems in a foreign culture and the ability to switch to other linguistic and non-linguistic norms of behavior when meeting another culture [7].


In the interpretation of E.I. Passov the formation of intercultural competence is carried out at three levels: 

1)       at the level of perception, when the cognitive meaning of knowledge about a foreign culture is determined. At this level, it is enough to have an idea of the culture facts.  

2)       at the social level, when the pragmatic meaning of knowledge is determined. At this level, it is necessary to know the concepts and be able to perform some kind of action. 

3)       at the level of personal meaning, when the axiological value meaning of knowledge is determined. At this level, the judgments are needed related to a personal emotional-value attitude toward the fact of the foreign culture [8].

In accordance with the level of intercultural competence of the secondary linguistic persona, the acculturation strategy selection is carried out. Therefore, it is so important to obtain the knowledge about foreign culture and skills in applying the target language and acquired behavioral strategies that are extremely necessary in solving educational, social, domestic, professional and other communication problems in foreign-language space. When forming intercultural competence, there is the secondary linguistic persona identity transformation, which is directly related to the motivational structure and the level of the secondary linguistic persona self-assessment in its attitude to the language and foreign culture and appears in the personality behavior and its attitude to the identification object. 


List of references:


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2. Grushevitskaya T.G., Popkov V.D., Sadokhin À.P. Fundamentals of intercultural communication: College textbook / by idition of À.P. Sadokhin. – Ì., 2003. – 352 p.

3.Ye.F.Tarassov. Intercultural communication – new ontology of the linguistic consciousness analysis. Book Ethno-cultural specificity of language consciousness. Collection of essays/ Publishing editor N.V.Ufimtseva. – Ì., 1996. – 227 p.

4.Akhatova B.À. Language consciousness and culture // Polylinguistic space: Language – Consciousness – Culture: International conference “Readings from Akhanov”// Publishing editor E.D. Suleimenova. – Almaty, 2008, t.2, 307 p.

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8.Passov Ye. I. Technology of cultures dialogue in foreign-language education. – Lipetsk, 2005.