Publication details [#14923]

Schröder, Ulrike. 2020. Talking about intercultural experiences: The cognitive ‘leap’ into another universe. International Journal of Language and Culture 7 (1) : 15–37. 23 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


The aim of this paper is to ask how exchange students retrospectively co-construct their first ‘culture shock’ experiences on a verbal, vocal, and visual plane. The results show that the different co-occurring levels of communication in the talk of the students offer various insights into cognitive processes: (1) Metaphorical and metonymical gestures are frequently used to represent or compress cultural dimensions in moments of high involvement and emphatic speech style. (2) Such gestures are also often historically and culturally embedded and may additionally serve to gain laughter from the co-participants in order to exaggerate the effect of cultural confrontation, underpinned by the use of prosodic cues. (3) Other prosodic means such as creaky voice may be used as a metaphorical marker for distance and represent therefore another type of cultural shock marker. (4) A dynamic understanding of blending theory might be a tool for laying cognitive processes of intercultural experiences open for the researcher.