Learning for Adaptation An edusemiotic perspective on intercultural communication competence

Juming Shen*, Yu Sheng, Ying Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The conceptualization of intercultural communication competence (ICC) has been updated tentatively since it was formulated in the 1970s. A common recognition is that development of ICC can only be realized through an individual's adaptation, which results from the integration of the multiple forces within the individuals themselves. However, most of the existing research on ICC has focused on the conscious aspects of competence like abilities or skills that are distinguishable, that is, what to adapt, rather than the less conscious aspect, or its correlation with the unconscious part, that is, the how to adapt, or what the process of adaptation is. The absence of investigation into the adaptation process may have been a consequence of the educational context of studies on ICC, which depends much on, or is heavily affected by, the Cartesian dualistic viewpoints that emphasize the dichotomy of mind-body while ignoring the "middle"in between. Based on our previous semiotic analysis that explained the process of intercultural communication as a form of semiosis, this paper adopts more perspectives from edusemiotics to conceptualize learning following a triadic framework with emphasis on the process as the "middle,"which renders it possible to reflect on the process of individuals' adaptation in contexts of intercultural communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-625
Number of pages23
JournalChinese Semiotic Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2020


  • communication
  • culture
  • education
  • semiosis
  • semiotics

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