Book reviews

Wolton, Dominique, Communication is cohabitation

Reviewed by George F. Simons at diversophy.com  These are two very slim volumes with a plethora of insights useful to those of us whose work in in in intercultural communication, or perhaps we should say, those of us aligned with the authors’ understanding, that all communication is intercultural and cultural, a search for establishing operational communalities in the inevitable face of difference. Caveat—this is perhaps less a comprehensive and critical review than a collection of those gleanings from the texts of statements and perspectives that left their mark on this reader and an attempt to share them with my Anglophone...

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Singer, Marshall R., Perception & Identity in Intercultural Communication

Reviewed by George F. Simons at diversophy.com   Amazon review Less is more. Marshall Singer's recent abridgment and revision of his now classic Intercultural Communication: A Perceptual Approach (Prentice Hall, 1987) is far better than the original. Time has shown that novel perspectives, earlier championed by the author, have become more familiar and acceptable among both anthropologists and interculturalists. His assumptions about intercultural communication have been borne out in subsequent developments in political and intergroup conflicts on the world stage. Few can articulate as seamlessly as Singer does the relationship between culture and the polycultural nature of the individual identity in...

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Schott, Ben, Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition

Reviewed by George F. Simons at diversophy.com   Amazon review  Recently I did a review of Liesl Schillinger’s Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century, an attempt to name things for which there should be a word but there isn't. I noted that the book was tongue-in-cheek, but it raised a point about the importance of word creation in the development of culture and its relationship to language. Now, for the passionate polyglot there is a similar work for fehlende Wortschatz in German. Even the title of the book is a play on words, replacing the “damages” in Schadenfreude (taking...

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Schillinger, Liesl, Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century

Reviewed by George F. Simons at diversophy.com   Amazon Review Despite its astute and often humorous verbal concoctions, the underlying point of this book is not just that there are not enough words in the language to describe what is going on about us or within us, but that the development of discourse is hindered by our tendency to confirmation bias, to make new things the same as things we already know. C'est a dire, making them fit the culture we espouse. The book reminded me of a colleague in the National Speakers Association who used to tell the story of...

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Rosenberg, Marshall B., Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life

Reviewed by George F. Simons at diversophy.com   Amazon review Toward the end of the 1970's, while studying at the Gestalt Institute San Diego, I was treated by a colleague to an intriguing list of tips about the use of language from a group in Southern California calling itself the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC). I found the list both intriguing and helpful, and I sought to practice what I could understand of it, but somehow never discovered the source. About 25 years later the work of Marshall Rosenberg surfaced for me and I was both delighted to reconnect with the...

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