Intercultural Communication (INCC)

Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication

OMAR KA, Chair
DENIS M. PROVENCHER, Graduate Program Director

Professors BELL, ALAN S., (Emeritus) Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Modern Spanish literature, language teaching methodology
FIELD, THOMAS T., Ph.D., Cornell University; Socio-linguistics, literacy, textual analysis, French studies
LARKEY, EDWARD, Ph.D., Humboldt- Universitšt; German popular culture and media, transcultural television and media studies, history and theory of Intercultural communication, German identities, GDR studies
MOORJANI, ANGELA, (Emerita) Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Modern French literature and culture, intercultural pragmatics, gender studies
SINNIGEN, JOHN H., Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Modern Spanish and Latin-American narrative, ideologies and literature, political economy of culture, interculturality and equality

Associate Professors
FATIH, ZAKARIA, PhD., State University of New York at Buffalo; Francophone studies, enlightenment, critical theory
KA, OMAR, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Phonology, sociolinguistics, African linguistics, Wolof language, French language
MCCRAY, STANLEY, (Emeritus) Ph.D., University of Michigan; Historical linguistics, French studies
OSKOZ, ANA, PhD., University of Iowa; Second language writing, intercultural development, communities of inquiry, social tools.
POGGIO, SARA Z., Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Sociology, Latin- American societies, Latino Immigrants in USA and Europe. Gender, Class, and Race in Immigration Theory.
PROVENCHER, DENIS M., Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University; French civilization and cultural studies, language, gender and sexuality, conversation and discourse analysis, intercultural communication
ROSENTHAL, ALAN S., (Emeritus) Ph.D., Rutgers University; Modern French literature, language teaching methodology, Franco-American relations
RUSINKO, ELAINE, Ph.D., Brown University; Russian and Soviet languages, literature, culture and society, Carpatho-Rusyn studies
SCHNEIDER, JUDITH M., Ph.D., Duke University; Modern French studies, Latin- American and U.S. Latino literature, Jewish writing of the diaspora
SCHWARTZ, ANA MARÕA, Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Language teaching and curriculum development, learning strategies, media, heritage Spanish speakers
SHIELDS, Anna M., Ph.D., Indiana University; Medieval Chinese literature, Chinese literature history, gender studies, cultural studies
SLOANE, ROBERT A., (Emeritus) Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Golden-Age Spanish literature, language teaching methodology
STOLLE MCALLISTER, JOHN, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Latin American popular culture, social, indigenous and environmental movements.
YOUNG, STEVEN, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Historical phonology, Slavic and Baltic linguistics

Assistant Professors BAZGAN, NICOLETA, PhD., Ohio State University; French film studies, gender and cultural studies, political economy of culture
MEDINA LOPEZ-PORTILLO, ADRIANA, PhD., University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Intercultural training, intercultural communication in the Spanish-speaking world

Degree Offered

M.A. (thesis and non-thesis)

Program Description

The Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) offers a program leading to an M.A. in Intercultural Communication, with a focus on French, German or Hispanic studies. Non-native speakers of English also may participate in the program and may focus on U.S. culture, including the teaching of English as a second language. An expanding field, intercultural communication is the study of the ways in which social structuring, social assumptions and language use bear on interactions between members of different cultures. The aim of the program is to allow students to develop advanced foreign language proficiency, to train them to function comfortably and effectively in intercultural situations, and to prepare them for specific career goals through individual courses of study and internships. Students and faculty come from various parts of the world, and participation in the program is itself a significant intercultural experience. Further information about this program is available from the graduate program director, Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication, UMBC.

Program Specialties

Francophone, Germanic, Hispanic studies and U.S. culture (the U.S. culture program is open only to non-native speakers of English). Through intra- and interdepartmental cooperation, students may acquire skills in intercultural filmmaking, intercultural policy studies and advanced intercultural training. Teachers of Spanish in Maryland may obtain credits toward the M.A. degree through our cooperative summer program with the University of Salamanca, Spain. Teachers of French in Maryland may obtain credits toward the M.A. degree through our cooperative semester-exchange program with the University of Nancy, France.

Program Admission and Degree Requirements

General admission requirements consist of a bachelorís degree with at least a "B" average and three letters of recommendation. GREs are strongly recommended. Although we do not require a particular score, we use it as one form of measurement to help us make a final decision in the application process. All original application documents must be sent directly to the Graduate School, not to the graduate program, and the deadline for fall application is January 31. International students also must submit satisfactory scores on the TOEFL or the IELTS examinations. In addition, applicants for the M.A. in Intercultural Communication should have a working knowledge of the language of their specialty (English, French, German or Spanish), such that they can carry out graduate studies and write extensive papers in it. At least one letter of recommendation should attest to that knowledge. Applicants also should have a grounding in a complementary field (e.g., African-American studies, American studies, anthropology, cultural studies, education, ethnomusicology, health sciences, history, linguistics, literary studies, psychology, political science, social work, sociology).

Students with minor inadequacies in their preparation may fulfill necessary prerequisites concurrently with participation in the program. Students may transfer up to six credits of appropriate graduate work from other universities.

Students are required to take at least 30 credit hours in course work (the equivalent of 10 three-credit courses). A minimum of 18 credit hours must be taken at the 600- level or higher. A cumulative grade point average of at least a "B" (3.0) is needed for graduation. The program may be completed in two years of full-time study. All requirements for the degree must be completed within five years. The intercultural curriculum stresses the integration of language and culture within a larger societal context. Four required courses provide a grounding in the field. In addition to the required program, graduate faculty advisors will assist students in the choice of elective courses best suited to their specific interests and career needs. Along with electives in the target language, students may choose others in areas such as business and education, government, health, social work. (Six education credits may be used in partial fulfillment of the requirements for postbaccalaureate teacher certification.) Special internships may be arranged and substituted for an elective course.

Students are offered thesis and non-thesis options. Thesis students take, in addition to the required program of 12 credits, a minimum of 12 credit hours of electives and six credit hours of thesis research. At the end of their program, they must pass an oral examination on the thesis. Non-thesis students, in consultation with an advisor, take a minimum of 18 credit hours of electives, which may be divided between courses in the target language and courses in the related field. They are also required to submit a scholarly paper and to pass a comprehensive examination based on their course work.

Accelerated B.A./M.A.

Students completing an undergraduate major at UMBC in modern languages and linguistics may, during their junior or senior year, apply for admission to the M.A. in Intercultural Communication. If accepted, they may apply nine credits of previously approved B.A. course work (graduate level) to their M.A. degree. Such students may be able to complete both degrees in five years.

Facilities and Special Resources

The UMBC International Media Center houses important cultural materials in foreign languages and receives satellite transmissions from abroad. An extensive film and video library, along with individual PCs, affords students the opportunity of watching foreign films and other materials. Computer-assisted learning materials are also available. Students also have access to a PC laboratory for use in doing research and writing academic papers and for connection to Internet resources.

Outplacement Success

The program provides students with the intercultural sophistication and foreign language proficiency to fill positions in:

  • Foreign-language education and training programs
  • International education and foreign-student advisement
  • International relations
  • Intercultural training and conflict resolution management
  • Personnel services in industry, medicine, government and law
  • Social service and community organizations
  • Human-rights organizations
  • International trade
  • Marketing foreign goods and services in the United States and abroad
  • Travel and tourism

Many of the graduates from the program have found positions in the above fields, and others have been accepted into Ph.D. programs at research institutions such as The Johns Hopkins University; the University of California, Berkeley; New York University; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of Maryland, College Park. Graduates also may apply to the Ph.D. program in Language, Literacy and Culture (LLC) at UMBC (see description in this catalog).

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Application for assistantships should be made directly to the department. Other types of financial assistance (e.g. work study and student loans) are available through the Office of Financial Aid. Students currently employed are urged to consult with their employers to determine what kind of financial support is available from that source.

COURSE LISTING

Modern Language and Linguistics Courses

MLL 600
Special Projects in Intercultural Communication [1-3]

Open to students with special projects on application to the instructor who will supervise the particular project. Note: Permission to register must be in writing and must specify the number of credits sought.

MLL 601
Intercultural Pragmatics [3]

In this course students examine the pragmatic components of human interaction within an intercultural context. The course is concerned with the crucial role context and pragmatic principles play in understanding the invisible meanings of utterances in everyday conversations and other forms of human communication. Topics of investigation will include: the role of culture and the cultural unconscious in meaning making; content and co-text; situation, frames and scripts in defining context and meaning; implicature; cooperative principle; relevance theory; politeness theory; speech act theory and performativity; and the relationship between language and power.

MLL 602
Ethnography of Communication [3]

At the intersection of linguistics and anthropology, the ethnography of communication has as its goal an understanding of the patterning of communicative behavior within culture. Topics to be covered in the course include what it means to "talk" in different cultural contexts, the functions of literacy in the United States and elsewhere, the symbolic organization of the world in writing and speaking, language attitudes and social prestige, and how languages and cultures are acquired and reproduced. Readings will include case studies drawn from work on a wide variety of cultures.

MLL 603
Political Economy of Culture [3]

A study of the economic, social and political forces conditioning cultural identity and production. Special attention is paid to questions of race, gender, social class, nation and the international order.

MLL 605
The Field of Intercultural Communication [3]

This course introduces the history and practices of the field of intercultural communication, including its diverse theoretical and conceptual approaches; its analytical and methodological tools of evaluation and assessment; basic principles of training and professional and career development opportunities in the various areas of the discipline, particularly as it is practiced at UMBC.

MLL 606
Theory and History of Intercultural Media [3]

This course will trace the historical and stylistic evolution of documentary and other film genres, including ethnographic and feature films, while exploring the use of these as a conduit for intercultural communication. Students will view intercultural film and video projects of the invited filmmakers. Reading selected texts will help inform the discussion and analysis of what constitutes the genre "intercultural film."

MLL 612
Linguistics and Bilingualism [3]

Bilingualism is a part of everyday life for many people around the world, yet in some ways, it is still a poorly understood phenomenon. In this course, we will examine bilingualism, first as a characterization of individual human beings and then as a factor in social patterning. In particular, we will be interested in the structures that constitute human linguistic knowledge and the broader abilities of communicative competence and the ways bilinguals may differ from monolinguals in these areas.

MLL 617
Information Technology in Foreign Languages [3]

This course is designed to familiarize students with technological resources in foreign languages and to prepare them in the effective use of technology-based approaches and resources. Activities include assessing and using software with FL capabilities, mastering general Internet tools (File Transfer Protocol, listservs, news groups, etc.), accessing electronic library resources and conducting effective searches on the Web, with particular attention to copyright issues.

MLL 625
Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Communication [3]

The purpose of this course is to study communication within the context of the cultural setting. The three main goals are: (1) to provide students with materials, both cognitive and experiential, with which they can develop an awareness of their own cultural identity; (2) to increase their knowledge of the special communication problems to be expected in a cross-cultural situation; and (3) to offer students the opportunity to apply new insights to cross-cultural encounters.

MLL 626
Advanced Methods in Intercultural Training [3]

This course will continue the acquisition of complex intercultural training skills initiated in MLL 625, including needs assessment, training design, planning and implementation. Students will develop and implement training modules for real-life cases inside or outside the university. Training will be applicable both across national cultures (global diversity training) and co-cultures (national diversity training). Students will show their gained skills by doing a needs assessment, designing and implementing a one-day training workshop and presenting it to the client. This course requires active participation and a high level of engagement and commitment. Experiential exercises will be a recurrent element during the sessions.

MLL 660
Theoretical Approaches to Intercultural Communication: A Critical Overview [3]

Students will analyze and discuss theoretical frameworks, concepts, research projects and currently available textbooks on intercultural communication, examining discussions in the US, (but also those in other countries, if possible), that students are either interested in or have selected for a cooperative project. This course will expand and deepen knowledge of intercultural communication theories studied in MLL 605. It is designed to provide a basis for research into theories of intercultural

MLL 670
Second-Language Acquisition and Learning: From Theory to Practice [3]

This course examines issues in second language acquisition and learning from the perspective of teaching and learning in ESOL and foreign-language classrooms. Topics covered include a review of past and current learning theories, an exploration of the range of factors (physiological, cognitive, affective, environmental) affecting first- and second-language acquisition, the role of input and output in second-language development, the role of learning styles and strategies in language learning and language processing in reading and listening. These topics will be explored through readings, class discussions and a variety of individual and collaborative projects and assignments.

MLL 690
Seminar in Modern Languages and Linguistics [3]

A study of a specific topic involving language, literature or culture and/or their inter-relations.

MLL 695
Intercultural Filmmaking I [3]

Development of skills pertaining to the operation of cameras, recorders control consoles, lighting instruments and general operating procedures. Each student gains experience as a team member participating in studio and field video productions, applying skills and knowledge in MLL 606 and realizing projects designed in MLL 606.

MLL 790
Internship/Practicum in Intercultural Communication [3]

Practical work experience in such fields as education, government, health, social work or business involving multilingual, multiethnic or multi-cultural interactions.

MLL 799
Masterís Thesis Research [2-9]

Master's thesis research under the direction of a faculty member. Note: Six credit hours required for the thesis option.

French Courses

FREN 600
Special Projects in French [3]

Note: Open to students with special projects on application to the instructor who will supervise the particular project. Permission to register must be in writing and must specify the number of credits sought.

FREN 610
Studies in French Language and Linguistics [3]

Advanced work in French and Francophone language and linguistics. Topics may include intensive work on prose style, study of a particular socio-linguistic problem or analysis of some aspect of the French language.

FREN 630
Studies in French Literature [3]

Selected topics in French and Francophone literature may include the study of a century, movement, genre, theme or individual author. Topics will be announced each semester the course is offered. Note: May be repeated for credit.

FREN 640
Studies in French-Speaking Culture and Society [3]

Selected topics will deal with French speaking societies of the present or past, both in Europe and elsewhere. Topics will be announced each semester the course is offered. Among the recent offerings: Contemporary French cinema, the dark side of the Classical Period, Senegal and the French experience and French public memory and national identity. Note: May be repeated for credit.

FREN 650
Seminar in French [3]

Topics will cover some aspect of French language, literature or civilization. Topics will be announced each semester the course is offered. Note: May be repeated for credit.

German Courses

GERM 600
Special Projects in German [1-3]

Open to students with special projects on application to the instructor who will supervise the particular project. Note: Permission to register must be in writing and must specify the number of credits sought.

GERM 601
Studies in German Language [3]

Advanced training in oral and written communication in German. Note: May be repeated for credit, as topics change.

GERM 621
Studies in German Literature [3]

Selected topics in German literature may include the study of a century, movement, genre, theme or individual author. Topics will be announced each semester offered. Note: May be repeated for credit with permission, as topics change.

GERM 681
Seminar in German [3]

Topics will cover some aspect of German language, literature or civilization. Topics will be announced each semester offered. Note: May be repeated for credit with permission, as topics change.

Linguistics Courses

LING 600
Advanced Special Projects in Linguistics [3]

A directed reading and research-oriented course on an agreed-upon topic. A theory significant and original term paper is required.

LING 610
Language Planning [3]

This course examines the language planning choices that have been made in a variety of multi-lingual settings in the world, with particular reference to the role of ethnic or national identity. It also identifies the impact of those choices on the political, cultural, educational and socio-economic domains.

LING 670
Linguistics, Cognition and Language Pedagogy [3]

This course examines the implications of current linguistic theory and research for language teaching practice. A theory-significant and original term paper is required.

LING 680
Studies in Theoretical Linguistics [3]

This course provides an in-depth examination of specific issues in either general or subfield-specific linguistic theory, with special reference to a variety of linguistic phenomena observable in different languages, including English. A theory-significant and original term paper is required.

LING 690
Seminar in Applied Linguistics [3]

Advanced research on a particular topic in applied linguistics. Students are expected to give frequent oral reports and complete work on a theory-significant and original term paper.

Spanish Courses

SPAN 600
Special Projects in Spanish [1-3]

Open to students with special projects on application to the instructor who will supervise the particular project. Note: Permission to register must be in writing and must specify the number of credits sought.

SPAN 601
Studies in Spanish Language [3]

Advanced training in oral and written communication in Spanish. Note: May be repeated for credit, as topics change.

SPAN 621
Studies in Hispanic Literature [3]

A seminar on a selected topic in Hispanic literature, such as a century, movement, genre, theme or an individual author. Topics will be announced each semester offered. Note: May be repeated for credit.

SPAN 638
Studies in Spanish Linguistics [3]

An in-depth examination of specific issues in Spanish linguistics in light of contemporary linguistic theory. A theory-significant and original research paper is required.

SPAN 671
Topics in Spanish Society [3]

Topics to be announced each semester offered. Among the offerings: Post-Franco Spain, the Spanish Civil War, modernization and tradition, nationalism and regionalism. Note: May be repeated for credit.

SPAN 672
Topics in Latin-American Society [3]

Topics to be announced each semester offered. Among the offerings: Caribbean culture, colonial Latin America, contemporary Mexico and the Latin-American diaspora in the United States, Latino immigrants in US and Spain, Women and Politics in Latin America, Costs and benefits of Immigration, Latino Political Participation in USA.Note: May be repeated for credit.