Both multimodal communicative competence (MCC) and intercultural communicative competence (ICC) are becoming increasingly important as many educational institutions, business establishments, and governmental organizations are forced to switch their means of communication to online video conferencing systems such as Zoom at a time of pandemic.
Expanding my previous research on intercultural telecollaboration and ICC development in educational settings, I plan to examine how my previous findings can be applied in the multimodal environment of intercultural communication and suggest how multimodal intercultural synchronous online communication can be effectively implemented.
Using video recordings of synchronous online conferencing between university students from various cultural backgrounds, both linguistic modes (spoken and written) and meta-linguistic modes (gestures, gaze, tone, hesitations, rhythm, intonation, etc.) are analyzed to examine how they affect overall communication.
As Bezemer and Jewitt (2010, p. 183) note, “Multimodality assumes that all forms of communication have, like language, been shaped through their cultural, historical, and social uses to realize social functions” and should therefore be considered an essential part of ICC. On that account, this study explores a new model of Multimodal Intercultural Communicative Competence combining MCC and ICC models based on multi-modal analysis of the empirical data.