Master of Advanced Studies in

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Difference, Meaning and Communication: Semiotic Approaches

Intercultural Training and Education

This module will present theoretical concepts and methods for analyzing how meanings are constructed linguistically and visually in interpersonal and mediated communication. Let us follow Gumperz’ argument that "conversational interpretation is cued by empirically detectable signs, contextualization cues, and that the recognition of what these signs are, how they relate to grammatical signs, how they draw on socio-cultural knowledge and how they affect understanding, is essential for creating and sustaining conversational involvement and therefore to communication as such" (1992, 42). Acknowledging that context can be co-constructed by the persons involved, we will work on the analysis of intercultural interpersonal communication.


  • To investigate contexts and processes of intercultural (interpersonal) communication;
  • To critically analyze and expertise signs (in intercultural communication situations) with respect to its modes of interpretation;
  • To propose adequate interventions within organizations or enterprises where intercultural encounters play a role;
  • To analyze, deploy and create visuals in intercultural settings, by consciously leveraging the universal advantages of visual mapping for intercultural communication, while being aware of the cross-cultural variations in their interpretation. 


  • Detailed linguistic analysis of signs and symbols in intercultural communication;
  • Construction of otherness and difference;
  • Cross-cultural variations in interpretation of visual communication;
  • Practical applications to facilitating intercultural communication.
Sabrina Bresciani
Bernd Müller-Jacquier