tempo di lettura 3′

That language cannot be separated from culture (and vice versa) seems trivial today. Yet, for a long time language was missing from intercultural training concepts both in academic and corporate contexts. The Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages  (2001), on the other hand, was essentially a document of intercultural communicative competence, although many may have overlooked this.

How important effective communication is in intercultural encounters can be seen from reports on cross-border acquistions and mergers, like the one given above. It is against this background that detailed descriptors have been provided by the CEFR-Companion Volume for what effective communication  means in practice.

Here is an example from the scale illustrating one aspect of mediation: facilitating a pluricoltural space


  • Can mediate effectively and naturally between members of his/her own and other communities, taking account of sociocultural and sociolinguistic differences.
  • Can guide a sensitive discussion effectively, identifying nuances an undercurrents.


  • Can act as a mediator in intercultural encounters, contributing to a shared communication culture by managing ambiguity of off fering advice and support, and heading off misunderstandings.
  • Can anticipate how people might misunderstand what has been said of written and help to maintain positive interaction by commenting on and interpreting different cultural perspectives on the issue concerned.


  • Can exploit knowledge of sociocultural conventions in order to establish a consensus on how to proceed on a particular situation unfamiliar to everyone involved.
  • Can, in intercultural encounters, demonstrate appreciation of perspectives other than his/her normal worldview, and express him/herself in a way appropriate to the contest.
  • Can clarify misunderstandings and misinterpretations during intercultural encounters, suggesting how things were actually meant in order to clear the air and move the discussion forward.
  • Can encourage a shared communication culture by expressing understanding and appreciation of different ideas, feelings and viewpoints, and inviting participants to contribute and react to each other’s ideas.
  • Can work collaboratively with people who have different cultural orientations, discussing similarities and differences in views and perspectives.
  • Can, when collaborating with people from other cultures, adapt the way he/she works in order to create shared procedures.
  • Can support communication across cultures by initiating conversation, showing interest and empathy by asking and answering simple questions, and expressing agreement and understanding.
  • Can act in a supportive manner in intercultural encounters, recognising the feelings and different world views of other members of the group.


Photo by Ali Yahya

Di Rudolf Camerer

Rudi Camerer comes from language testing and, today, directs a language and intercultural consultancy, elc-European Language Competence, Frankfurt/M. & Saarbrücken, Germany. He is the author of a number of publications on the teaching and testing of intercultural competence and, with Judith Mader, co-authored Intercultural Competence in Business English (Cornelsen 2012). Dirige ELC European Language Competence, una società di consulenza linguistica ed interculturale con sede a Francoforte e a Saarbruecken, in Germania. Ha un back ground di valutazione della competenza linguistica. E’ autore di diverse pubblicazioni sulll’insegnamento e la valutazione della competenza interculturale, e con Judith Mader ha scritto “Intercutural Competence in Business Engish” (Cornelsen 2012).