What Is Intercultural Communication?

We absorb our cultural knowledge and behavior virtually from the moment we are born. This culture becomes so much a part of us that when we communicate with others, we do so through patterns of behavior and value systems that may not be conscious or matched in our listener's culture. Globally, nationally, in our neighborhoods, and even within our families - interchange of information occurrs across cultures. Because the potential for misunderstanding is as great as the potential for new understanding, intercultural communication (IC) concepts and skills can help us successfully transmit and receive messages. In both ESL and EFL contexts, teachers and students communicate across cultures - students in particular typically are preparing for interactions with culturally different others, making IC research of critical importance for TESOL. (Muir and McNulty 1/3/2006)