TEAC 7076 Multicultural Nonverbal Communication

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102283

Coordinator Ping Yang Opens in new window

Description This subject introduces students to the interdisciplinary fields of linguistics, communication and cultural semiotics. It builds links between these areas of studies and beyond, which provide students with knowledge of how human beings use nonverbal communication systems and channels to achieve effective communication in intercultural and multicultural contexts. This subject covers three key perspectives, including paralinguistics, proxemics and kinesics. Authentic audio and visual materials are used to facilitate students' awareness of the multidimensional process in which people communicate verbally and nonverbally simultaneously. It also helps enhance their sensitivity when they interact with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline English as a Second Language Teaching

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject


Students must be enrolled in a postgraduate program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of three major areas (paralinguistics, proxemics and kinesics) in nonverbal communication;
  2. Interpret connotative meaning conveyed nonverbally in a range of contexts;
  3. Identify various functions performed and roles played via nonverbal channel;
  4. Demonstrate awareness of social and cultural codes embedded in body language;
  5. Use ELAN to transcribe and code audio and video data, particularly nonverbal information;
  6. Demonstrate cross-cultural sensitivity and understanding of cross-cultural differences in nonverbal communication;
  7. Use nonverbal communication effectively across languages and cultures.

Subject Content

- Paralinguistic aspects of nonverbal communication, e.g. articulation, tone, volume, pitch, rate, duration, quality, regularity as in music, pause and silence as in casual conversation, and their in-context meaning
- Proxemic dimensions, including space (intimate, personal and public), territory (self and others), power distance (High and low) and time (punctuality and zones)
- Kinesic perspectives, such as gestures (head, hand, finger) facial expressions (anger, disgust, happiness, sadness, smile), eye contact, body movement (bodily contact, posture and pose as in dancing) and artefacts (clothing, colours, shape, size, ornaments with reference to Religions and cultural practices)
- audio and video data transcription and analysis using ELAN (A linguistic annotator for creating complex annotations on video and audio data) and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5
- communication functions, e.g. providing information, regulating interaction, expressing emotions, allowing meta-communication, controlling social situation, and forming and managing impressions
- body language and cultural differences, applauding, smiling, eye contact, head shaking, hand touch, shoulder shrug, head nodding and shaking, hand shake and cheek kissing, etc.
- Applications of nonverbal communication in health care (doctor-patient interaction), legal setting (interpreters' body language in court) , political communication (high-profile politicians' body language in public address and debate), business negotiat


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz 30 minutes each 25 N Individual
Essay 2500 words 50 N Individual
Presentation 10 minutes 25 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Riggio, R. E. & Feldman, R. S. (Eds.) (2005). Applications of nonverbal communication. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)

Parramatta City - Macquarie St


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