Cross-cultural misunderstanding in the language of international diplomacy
Successful communication requires that the two parties involved in the activity acquire mutually shared socio-cultural background knowledge. The shared expectations, beliefs and cultural values enable the two parties to properly and correctly infer the intended meaning of each other's messages in order to respond or act accordingly and appropriately. International diplomats, who use language at almost al I times to conduct and negotiate international relations, belong to different cultures. This implies that they do not share sociocultural background knowledge which is vital ly crucial for any successful communication. The diversity of their expectations, beliefs and values causes interference between linguistic and sociocultural meanings which leads to problems of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. By applying sociolinguistics perspective in its holistic sense, the thesis investigated diplomatic communication events of personal experience of the 'dip l omat-res ear cher' as we 11 as se If -reported events by the career diplomats who were interviewed and taperecorded. The analysed diplomatic events were measured by quantitative data obtained from the questionnaire which was distributed among ambassadors around the world. The questionnaire results were corroborated by the results obtained from the events of persona 1 exper i ence as we 11 as by the e vents reported by the career di pl omats. iii The verified results, which proved the thesis' hypothesisq explored the shortcomings of current diplomatic communication; misunderstand i ng, misinterpretation and misjudgement characterized the career diplomats' activities and eventuated undesired and unfortunate outcomes. In order to overcome such unpleasant results and to minimize the effect of the diversity of diplomats' socio-cultural background the thesis proposed certain criteria which included elements of the language of diplomacy, qualities of good diplomats and principles of conducting successful diplomatic communication. By observing and satisfying the conditions of these criteria, future diplomacy is most likely to produce successful results.