Forms of Address as Cross-Cultural Code-Switching: The Case of German and Danish in Higher Education

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Both German and Danish have distinct pronouns for addressing communication partners formallyand informally (referred to as V for Sie/De and T for du/du). However, their use differsconsiderably in Germany and Denmark, e. g. in higher education. In Germany, the lecturerand the students use V, in Denmark they use T. Based on the observation that Danish studentsare very reluctant (and sometimes even opposed) to use V in the classroom in Denmark, thisarticle proposes to consider the use of V and T as a case of Cross-Cultural Code-Switching. Itis hypothesized that V causes Cultural Cognitive Dissonance for (young) Danes since V isinterpreted as an overt manifestation of power distance in a society which considers itself asegalitarian. Ways to cope with such cognitive dissonance in foreign language teaching arediscussed. Furthermore, the article addresses the broader question of when cultural behavioursare supposed to apply and – in particular – what conventions are appropriate in higher educationin Denmark when German is the language of instruction: should we use V as in Germanyor T as in Denmark? Arguments for both choices are presented and discussed.
    Both German and Danish have distinct pronouns for addressing communication partners formallyand informally (referred to as V for Sie/De and T for du/du). However, their use differsconsiderably in Germany and Denmark, e. g. in higher education. In Germany, the lecturerand the students use V, in Denmark they use T. Based on the observation that Danish studentsare very reluctant (and sometimes even opposed) to use V in the classroom in Denmark, thisarticle proposes to consider the use of V and T as a case of Cross-Cultural Code-Switching. Itis hypothesized that V causes Cultural Cognitive Dissonance for (young) Danes since V isinterpreted as an overt manifestation of power distance in a society which considers itself asegalitarian. Ways to cope with such cognitive dissonance in foreign language teaching arediscussed. Furthermore, the article addresses the broader question of when cultural behavioursare supposed to apply and – in particular – what conventions are appropriate in higher educationin Denmark when German is the language of instruction: should we use V as in Germanyor T as in Denmark? Arguments for both choices are presented and discussed.
    LanguageEnglish
    JournalLinguistik Online
    Volume79
    Issue number5
    Pages179-198
    ISSN1615-3014
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 May 2016

    Cite this

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    title = "Forms of Address as Cross-Cultural Code-Switching: The Case of German and Danish in Higher Education",
    abstract = "Both German and Danish have distinct pronouns for addressing communication partners formallyand informally (referred to as V for Sie/De and T for du/du). However, their use differsconsiderably in Germany and Denmark, e. g. in higher education. In Germany, the lecturerand the students use V, in Denmark they use T. Based on the observation that Danish studentsare very reluctant (and sometimes even opposed) to use V in the classroom in Denmark, thisarticle proposes to consider the use of V and T as a case of Cross-Cultural Code-Switching. Itis hypothesized that V causes Cultural Cognitive Dissonance for (young) Danes since V isinterpreted as an overt manifestation of power distance in a society which considers itself asegalitarian. Ways to cope with such cognitive dissonance in foreign language teaching arediscussed. Furthermore, the article addresses the broader question of when cultural behavioursare supposed to apply and – in particular – what conventions are appropriate in higher educationin Denmark when German is the language of instruction: should we use V as in Germanyor T as in Denmark? Arguments for both choices are presented and discussed.",
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    Forms of Address as Cross-Cultural Code-Switching : The Case of German and Danish in Higher Education. / Ørsnes, Bjarne.

    In: Linguistik Online, Vol. 79, No. 5, 01.05.2016, p. 179-198.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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