This talk was given by David Crystal for The English-Speaking Union annual lecture, in partnership with the British Council.
There is a widely held view that one of the consequences of the rise of English as a world language is global intelligibility. However, at the level of everyday communication, cultural differences between the countries that use English often present a barrier to understanding.
The talk illustrates some of the conversational cross-purposes that have taken place, and discusses the kind of cultural awareness all English speakers need to have when they interact with others on a global scale.
You can read a report on the lecture.
You can also see David Crystal's plenary session at the 2013 IATEFL conference in Liverpool by visiting: IATEFL online