An ELT Glossary : Appropriacy

Appropriacy  is the use of language in such a way as to reflect the relationship between 

speaker/writer and listener/reader, to suit the cultural context, to

follow genre conventions and generally to meet listeners' or readers' expectations. 

Eg : Saying Shut the door, can you? to a friend is more appropriate than I should 

appreciate it greatly if you could be so kind as to to close the door.

One of the difficulties involved here is that what is appropriate in terms of linguistic and 

other behaviour in one culture may be quite different from what would be done or said in 

the same situation in another. Transfer of L1 behaviour to the L2 situation can often be 

misinterpreted as impolite, "strange" or offensive. For examples of this see the following 

articles in the Notebook:

Cross Cultural Communication : Part One

Cross Cultural Communication : Part Two

Related Reading

Byram, M. Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence, Multilingual Matters