a) What is the comic strip about?
With respect to what the comic is about, we have concluded that the man in the cartoon seems to be a foreigner who travels to another country and comes across local people who say some words and make a particular gesture in a nice manner. The man then makes use of his situational schematic knowledge (De Vega, 1995) to interpret the gesture and the linguistic input he receives. By constructing meaning with the use of his strategic competence (Swain and Canale, 1980), he believes that they are all greeting him. He then imitates the gesture made by the first person to greet back all the people he meets. At the hotel, there is a man kneeled on the floor probably in pain from hammering his hand who again uses the same words, and it is here when the man comes to realize that those words would mean something completely different from what he had deduced. In this way, there is an evident breakdown of communication (conflict) due to cultural differences.
b) What is the connection between the story, negotiation of meanings and communicative competence?
As regards negotiation of meaning, we have different opinions. Some of us have concluded that there could be a negotiation of meaning by the end of the cartoon since the tourist will notice the linguistic gap and will try to fix it (Schmidt and Frota, 1986). In this respect, Ellis (2001) says that negotiation takes place after a signal that there is a linguistic problem which needs explicit resolution. In this case, the man should be capable of recognizing what was wrong with his output and consequently, he should generate a modified output and self-correct (Long,1996). In this way, second language acquisition will be optimized. As for communicative competence, there is a perception about how the tourist and the inhabitants of the foreign country do not share the same cultural background and this...