Thursday, February 12, 2009

What does it mean to be hospitable to your guests?

While exploring the tools for week 5, I thought about using these tools for exploring sociolinguistic rules and pragmatic uses of language. Because I work with students in an ESL environment, there is often a need to help them understand cultural differences they encounter as they make friends and become integrated into the community. Using the comics, or for example, Dvolver, seemed like one way to bring to life some of the uses of language and illustrate misunderstandings that may occur when people with two different sets of sociolinguistic rules interact.

This comic deals with the differences in what it means to be hospitable across cultures. For example, some students coming to live and study in the U.S. are surprised when they eat at their hosts' houses and the host may not offer them food multiple times. Multiple offers of food may be customary in their home countries, and therefore expected of a host. Furthermore, they may feel reluctant to ask for directly for food or drink. They may begin to see the host as not hospitable to their guests by not making offers several times, when in reality the host was working within their own set of cultural norms.

With this type of visual, we could explore these cultural differences in the classroom. It was inspired by a text we read in the high-intermediate reading course about sociolinguistic rules and sociolinguistic competence.


  1. Hi Julia,

    Interactive comics are a great way to engage students!

    If you're interested in creating comics online, we invite you to check out You can design every aspect of your character, and move it into any pose you want. All you have to do is click-and-drag to change or reposition any part of it - the creative and artistic possibilities are endless!

    Share with others, post to blog or remix comics to add your own twist. Read comics in over 40 languages, with our automatic translation by Google. Language filters, privacy settings, and flagging mechanisms help preserve a safe online environment. Sign-up is free!

    Try it out and let us know what you think.

    Best wishes,
    Creator of Pixton - Interactive Web Comics

  2. Great use of the comic strip, Julia! It says so much in such a concise way and lends itself to class discussion. Kudos!