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Bridge-it Project

The main objective of this project is to offer concrete tools in several languages (English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Turkish, Arabic) to facilitate the life of vulnerable 'adults-in-mobility' (AMs), as they interact with 'adults-professionally-in-contact-with-mobility' (ACMs) within institutional-bureaucratic systems.U

SPICES Project

The purpose of the project is to overcome these problems by promoting knowledge, expertise and skills in InterCultural Communication (ICC) which cannot ignore the Second Language/Context Language (L2/Lc) through specific training activities addressed to AMs and ACMs.

Here we will save relevant definitions from the SPICES Glossary (www.trainingspices.net Glossary; SPICES Guidelines 2007).

New definitions relevant for bridge-it worked out within the partnership will be added.

Everyone is invited to participate with elaborating this glossary, also quoting from the literature.

This should help us to come to a common understanding about key issues and concepts.


Any individual, eighteen years of age or older, that for economic, social, professional or cultural reasons emigrates from his/her own country of origin and moves for a short or a long period of time in a different geographical, cultural and linguistic context. This different context very often implies, though not necessarily, a state different from the one of origin. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 14)

ADULT-PROFESSIONALLY-IN-CONTACT-WITH-MOBILITY (or simply Adult-in-Contact-with-Mobility; ACM)

Any individual who for reasons of work or profession comes into contact with adults in mobility (for example: educators, trainers, teachers, intercultural mediators, front-line desk officers or counter personnel, doctors...)

(SPICES Guidelines 2007: 14)


Barriers in communication occurred when :

The plane of the objective content is not clear

Interlocutors are not speaking about the same thing

The written message is not (fully) understood

Communication partners do not have the same level of information

Misunderstanding happen on the plane of the relationship

The two planes, that of the content and that of the relationship, are inverted

The message on the plane of the content are in contradiction with the message on the plane of the relationship

Interlocutors’ prejudices determine the dialogue

Only the information that confirms the prejudice is perceived

Interlocutors’ values are challenged and feelings hurt

Communication partners’ experiences and cultural backgrounds are noticeably different. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 28)

A dynamic, changing and multifaceted concept, traditionally a country or a state which may also be a geographical region, an institutional environment or the place of work. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 14)


The starting point of the BRIDGE-IT project is the definition of the term 'first-impact' as it relates to bureaucratic-institutional contexts in the different partner countries.

For the purposes of this project, 'first-impact' is defined as a period which starts with the first contact between an AM and an ACM in a specific country and ends with either the first permit of stay (or equivalent) or with the permit to move to another country.

The main objective of the foregoing project is for each country to identify the sequence of different public (or private) services / offices an AM has to deal with from his/her very first contact with an ACM in the respective, receiving country.

The bureaucratic experience an AM has to go through may vary according to his/her type of migration and according to the policies of the receiving country.

 The project may deal with three different types of migrants: 

1. EU citizens

2. non-EU citizens, regular (with VISA or equivalent)

3. non-EU citizens, irregular (without VISA or equivalent).

For the design and creation of training material and learning paths, special attention will be given to the most vulnerable groups of migrants. 


is a way or a style of communicating between people who refer to different cultural backgrounds. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 15)


Intercultural communication is obviously based on the concept of interpersonal communication. It exists not only in the present society, but has always existed. It is a phenomenon linked to commerce, wars, migrations, and conquests (cf. Hinnenkamp 1995:1). In other terms, each time interlocutors from different cultures meet with their different mindsets and their different ways of communication, they are unavoidably involved in intercultural communication. Each interlocutor brings his/her own cultural background and experience and adapts them to the interactional dynamics.

Each communicative event is conditioned by the socio-cultural and experiential background of those involved. By culture we mean those “specific mindsets that are socially predetermined and through which individuals personally come in contact with in a historically determined context” (translation from Italian, Sepilli/Guaitini Abbozzo 1974:30). If such a background and the respective mindsets are not shared, misunderstandings can easily occur and negotiation of meaning is required to reach a common interpretation. Negotiation of meaning (Gumperz 1982a, 1982b) refers to the formulation of an expression or the symbolic meaning of an action. Thus, meaning is ultimately negotiated by all partecipants in a communicative event. The sharing and negotiation efforts represent a fundamental strategy in intercultural communication.

Even if communicatively different ways of behavior do not necessarily cause immediate failure of communication, it can instil stereotypical perceptions. Developing intercultural communicative abilities does not only imply perceiving cultural differences in various communicative forms, but being able to communicative habits. In brief, knowing how to sustain constructive and productive intercultural communication means being able to adequately communicate and interpret signs referring to an individual or a context.

In order to understand such as an issue, contributions from the ethnography of speech/communication (Hymes,1974) are particularly important. This approach offers a systematic methodology, which highlights the interdependence of language, speech, communication and culture (cf. Hinnenkamp 1995:2). Interpretative sociolinguistics (Gumperz 1982) and its concept of contextualisation, analyse intercultural communication in holistic terms. Scientific research is currently considering the description of interactional dimension and interpersonal dynamics along with possible failures in communication. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 25)

By multiculturalism we mean a status quo based on "tolerance and, at best, on respect”, whereas the concept of interculturalism implies a situation "founded on willingness (i.e. to study, and to know) and on the appropriation of cultural models that belong to others but considered more valid than one’s own" or in any case useful for interaction with the context. “'Multiculturalism' is an ethno-social fact whereas ‘interculturalism’ is a political and cultural choice. In a ‘multicultural’ society the ‘host’ group is never engaged in discussion and the guests resort to it only in order to avoid expulsion: in an ‘intercultural' society everybody  is involved in discussion and willing to be subject to mutual influence. The ‘multicultural’ society produces only economic enrichment (....). In the 'intercultural' society the enrichment is philosophical: one discovers other points of views, other ways of conceptualizing reality, other styles of life” (Balboni, Paolo E. 2002:210-211) and other styles of communication, i.e. InterCultural Communication (ICC).
(SPICES Guidelines 2007:15) 


Our perspective on communication is a complex concept that implies a comprehensive socio-linguistic and pragmalinguistic competence. Knowing how to communicate does not only mean knowing how to use linguistic tools (vocabulary, syntax, morphology, phonetics, specialised terminology, etc) in one’s own or another’s community; but also being able to use the linguistic tools in a way that is suitable to social and situation contexts, and therefore, in relation to the interlocutor, the place, the aims, the intentions that one wants to convey. Furthermore, the concept of communication is rather wide and comprises varied fields : from verbal communication (words and, generally, linguistic heritage) to visual communication (images, form, colours), from oral verbal communication to written verbal communication, from paraverbal (voice) communication to nonverbal communication (body language). Communication is therefore the basis and medium of every social event: social processes are not possible without communication. Communication is a multilateral process and, consequently, it is extremely sensitive to interferences; the result of which is the fruit of everybody’s participation. It is, therefore, an interactive practice whose repercussions are of fundamental importance in professional and institutional life.

In our view, communication is an instrument which, if used carefully and consciously, may bring personal, relational, and organisational benefits. This does not mean, however, that communication automatically resolves all personal, interpersonal, or organisational problems. But it can undoubtedly help come to a resolution. In this sense, training in communication represents, professional and intercultural enrichment. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 24-25)

A specific l2, that is that language (or language variety) which is typical to a given geo-socio-linguo-cultural context, and which is (relatively) new to the Adult in Mobility who is in need of an adequate  linguistic-communicative integration.


Movement for economic, professional, social and cultural reasons from one country/state/context to another within the European Union as well as from third countries to EU member states. (SPICES Guidelines 2007:14)


In our encounters with others, the individual essentially perceives and transmits four types of messages:





   Nonverbal communication involves visible behaviour, which transmits (un)intentional messages without words: the use of body language, facial expression, gesture, movement, posture, eye contact, and proximity.

(SPICES Guidelines 2007: 29)


In our encounters with others, the individual essentially perceives and transmits four types of messages:





Paraverbal communication refer to how words, sentence and discourse are perceived through the interplay of pauses, volume, pitch registers, intonation contours, speed, stress and rhythm. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 29)


In our encounters with others, the individual essentially perceives and transmits four types of messages:





Verbal communication consists in messages expressed in words. The words, the sentence and the construction of the whole discourse are relevant. Discourse may be spoken and also written. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 29)


In our encounters with others, the individual essentially perceives and transmits four types of messages:





Visual communication comprise colours, forms, and symbols that our interlocutor wears or brings. (SPICES Guidelines 2007: 29)


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