Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 14, June 2007

Nabelah Haraty, Ahmad Oueini, Rima Bahous

Speaking to Domestics in Lebanon: Power Issues or Misguided Communication?


The Lebanese use a combination of Arabic and English telegraphic speech, along with gestures and other forms of speech adjustments to address their domestics. This pattern of inadequate speech is based on the misconception that domestics understand exactly the same way they speak. Using interviews, questionnaires, and participant observations, the researchers identified some of the underlying issues, power and trust, related to this form of fragmented speech. The investigators recommended that communication with domestics be in one language and in complete sentences, not only for the sake of language acquisition but to ensure a fair treatment of foreign helpers.
Keywords: Foreigner Talk, Critical Discourse Analysis, Code Switching

Back to Intercultural Communication
Back to the Immigrant Institute