Gavin Jack, Alison Phipps

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7 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter provides an overview and critical discussion of the principal approaches to the study of language(s) and intercultural communication within the specific context of tourism. During the second half of the twentieth century, the number of people travelling has grown significantly, generating large revenues for the many and varied institutions of the tourist establishment and increasing opportunities for intercultural and multilingual encounters between tourists/guests and locals/hosts. Despite this fact, little scholarly attention has been devoted to the study of communication and language use in intercultural interactions between tourists and locals, although there is comparatively more research on the communicative strategies of the various intermediaries (e.g. tour guides, travel agents) that have an important influence on these interactions. This lack of research on naturally occurring intercultural communication in tourist settings is lamentable, not simply because of the potential economic contribution to be gained from effectively orchestrated interactions, but also because these interactions take place in contexts of power and status differentials that reproduce symbolic (and economic) inequalities between interlocutors in tourism settings. There are, of course, many kinds of tourists with different motivations and modes for travelling, and thus different degrees of interest in interacting with locals. These variations in type and perspective on tourism influence the nature and extent of tourist engagement in intercultural communication. For some tourists, the opportunity to practice a foreign language while on holiday and to learn about new cultures and ways of life might be key to travel and the particular choice of destination. But how many of us actually take time to learn a second language - or at least much beyonda few key phrases or cultural curiosities from our guidebooks - before travelling? For others, perceived cultural and linguistic differences between themselves and their hosts might be viewed as potentially discomforting, even alienating or threatening, and can form the basis of prejudice. These emotional, or affective, elements of attitudes towards the culturally different can influence tourists choice of holiday destination (e.g. avoiding certain countries or regions seen to be too differe') or type of accommodation (e.g. choosing a large hotel complex with hosts who speak their language and offer a taste of the local culture that does not necessarily involve venturing far outside the conffnes of the resort).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication
EditorsJane Jackson
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781136649530
ISBN (Print)9780415572545
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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