Different cultural conceptualizations underlying intercultural business communication problems between Thais and Koreans
When people from different cultural backgrounds interact, their divergent conceptualizations may result in communication problems. While the significance of intercultural business interactions between Thais and South Koreans has increased with the development of trade relations between their countries, few attempts have been made to research interactional problems in this context. This study investigates the respective Thai and Korean cultural conceptualizations that underlie communication problems between them in the context of Korean multinational companies operating in Thailand. By analyzing data derived from in-depth interviews, this article elucidates the linguistic features of Thai and Korean speakers in relation to four different culture-specific conceptualizations: for Thais, the cultural schema of kreng jai and the cultural category of phinong; and for Koreans, the cultural schemas of ppalli ppalli and gunsinyuei. The findings show that these cultural conceptualizations govern Thais’ and Koreans’ different ways of interacting, and the paper discusses how these differences lead to and shape misunderstandings and interpersonal conflicts between these cultural counterparts during intercultural business communications.
Keywords: cultural conceptualizations, cultural linguistics, intercultural communication, business discourse, Thai as a second language
Published online: 08 March 2021
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