Journal of Intercultural Communication, Issue 21, October, 2009

Xiaohong Wei

On Negative Cultural Transfer in Communication Between Chinese and Americans


Different nations in the world have their own cultures, and these cultures are characterized by both universality and particularity. The former provides a foundation and guarantee for intercultural communication, while the latter often leads to negative cultural transfer in communication if the speakers are unconscious of cultural differences. This paper makes a comparative study of negative cultural transfer in communication between Chinese and Americans from two aspects: the negative transfer of surface-structure culture in language forms and speech acts and the negative transfer of deep-structure culture in values, thought patterns, religious beliefs and ethics. It holds that failure in intercultural communication will occur if inadequate attention is paid to cultural differences in the process of language and culture learning.

Key words: negative cultural transfer; Chinese and Americans; surface-structure culture; deep-structure culture

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