14. Speaking of Difference

Language, Inequality and Interculturality

  1. Thomas K. Nakayama2 and
  2. Rona Tamiko Halualani3
  1. Crispin Thurlow

Published Online: 19 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444390681.ch14

The Handbook of Critical Intercultural Communication

The Handbook of Critical Intercultural Communication

How to Cite

Thurlow, C. (2010) Speaking of Difference, in The Handbook of Critical Intercultural Communication (eds T. K. Nakayama and R. T. Halualani), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444390681.ch14

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Northeastern University, USA

  2. 3

    San José State University, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 10 DEC 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405184076

Online ISBN: 9781444390681



  • speaking of difference - language, inequality and interculturality;
  • difference, bread-and-butter focus of intercultural communication - as academic field and human experience;
  • putting language in the picture, power of words - inequality, as power differentiates and selects;
  • cultural mythologies, conflictual about language - language not mattering;
  • ideology, “innocent” utterances - Jan Blommaert's advice, witnessing effects of power in discourse;
  • languages for intercultural communication - speaking of language in intercultural communication;
  • speaking another person's language - no guarantee of mutual understanding and respect;
  • language as a technology for global capital - in promoting, reproducing neoliberal discourses;
  • strategic deployment of language, technology of control - in nationalistic language testing of immigrant communities;
  • language per se, an important consideration - for critical intercultural communication


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Putting Language in the Picture: The Power of Words

  • Reason 1: Languages for Intercultural Communication

  • Reason 2: Language as a Technology for Global Capital

  • Language and the Production of Difference: Three Case Studies

  • Putting Language in Perspective: Words Are Not Enough

  • References

  • Further Reading