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导读:Unit 5 Culture and Verbal CommunicationSome Ideas Related to verbal communication and culture1. Different orientations to communication patterns East Asian orientation 1. process orientation — communication is perceived as a process of infinite int

新编跨文化交际英语教程(修订版)
新编跨文化交际英语教程(修订版)

Unit 5 Culture and Verbal CommunicationSome Ideas Related to verbal communication and culture1. Different orientations to communication patterns East Asian orientation 1. process orientation — communication is perceived as a process of infinite interpretation 2. differentiated linguistic codes — different linguistics codes are used depending upon persons involved and situations 3. indirect communication emphasis — the use of indirect communication is prevalent and accepted as normative 4. receiver centered — meaning is in the interpretation, Emphasis is on listening, sensitivity, and removal of preconception. North American orientation 1. communication is perceived as the transference of messages 2. Less differentiated linguistic codes — linguistic codes are not as extensively differentiated as East Asia 3. Direct communication emphasis — direct communication is norm despite the extensive use of indirect communication 4. sender centered — meaning is in the message created by the sender. Emphasis is on how to formulate the best message, how to improve source credibility and delivery skills 2. Direct and Indirect Verbal Interaction Styles The tone of voice, the speaker‟s intention, and the verbal content reflect our way of speaking, our verbal style, which in turn reflects our cultural and personal values and sentiments. Verbal style frames “how” a message should be interpreted. The direct -indirect verbal interaction dimension can be thought of as straddling a continuum. Individuals in all cultures use the gradations of all these verbal styles, depending on role identities, interaction goals, and situations. However, in individualistic cultures, people tend to encounter more situations that emphasize the preferential use of direct talk, person-oriented verbal interaction, verbal self-enhancement, and talkativeness. In contrast, in collectivistic cultures, people tend to encounter more situations that emphasize the preferential use of indirect talk, status-oriented verbal interaction, verbal self-effacement, and silence. The direct and indirect styles differ in the extent to which communicators reveal their intentions through their tone of voice and the straightforwardness of their content message. In the direct verbal style, statements clearly reveal the speaker‟s intentions and are enunciated in a forthright tone of voice. In the indirect verbal style, on the other hand, verbal statements tend to camouflage the speaker‟s actual intentions and are carried out with more nuanced tone of voice. For example, the overall U.S. American verbal style often calls for clear and direct communication.1/6

Phrases such as “say what you mean,” “don‟t beat around the bush,” and “get to the point” are some examples. The direct verbal style of the larger U.S. culture is reflective of its low-context communication character. 3. Person-Oriented and Status-Oriented Verbal Styles The person-oriented verbal style is individual-centered verbal mode that emphasizes the importance of informality and role suspension. The status-oriented verbal style is a role-centered verbal mode that emphasizes formality and large power distance. The former emphasizes the importance of symmetrical interaction, whereas the latter stresses asymmetrical interaction. The person-oriented verbal style emphasizes the importance of respecting unique, personal identities in the interaction. The status-oriented verbal style emphasizes the importance of honoring prescribed power-based membership identities. Those who engage in status-oriented verbal interaction use specific vocabularies and paralinguistic features to accentuate the status distance of the role relationships (e.g., in parent-child interaction, superior-subordinate relations, and male-female interaction in many Latin American cultures). While low-context cultures tend to emphasize the use of the person-oriented verbal style, high-context cultures tend to value the status-oriented verbal mode. 4. Self-Enhancement and Self-Effacement Verbal Styles The self-enhancement verbal style emphasizes the importance of boasting about one‟s accomplishments and abilities. The self-effacement verbal style, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of humbling oneself via verbal restraints, hesitations, modest talk, and the use of self-deprecation concerning one‟s effort or performance. For example, in many Asian cultures, self-effacement talk is expected to signal modesty or humility. In Japan, when one offers something to another person such as a gift or a meal that one has prepared, verbal self-deprecation is expected. There are set expressions for verbal humility such as “It‟s not very tasty” and “It‟s nothing special.” The hostess who apologizes to her guests that “There is nothing special to offer you” has probably sent the better part of two days planning and preparing the meal. Of course the guest should protest such a disclaimer and reemphasize her or his gratitude. Self-effacement is a necessary part of Japanese politeness rituals. In the U.S. culture, individuals are encouraged to sell and boast about themselves, for example, in performance review or job interview sessions, or else no one would notice their accomplishments. However, the notion of merchandizing oneself does not set well with the Japanese. In Japan, one does not like to stand out or be singled out, even by others; it is far worse to promote oneself. In many Asian cultures, individuals believe that if their performance is good, their behavior will be noticed, for example, by their supervisors during promotion review situations. However, from the Western cultural standpoint, if my performance is good, I should document or boast about it so that my supervisor will be sure to take notice. This difference is probably due to the observer-sensitive value of the2/6

Asian, high-context communication pattern, as opposed to the sender-responsible value of the Western, low-context interaction pattern. We should note that the pattern of verbal self-effacement cannot be generalized to many Arab or African cultures. In Egypt, for example, a popular saying is “Make your harvest look big, lest your enemies rejoice”. Effusive verbal self-enhancement is critical to the enhancement of one‟s face or honor in some large power distance Arab cultures.Reading I Understanding the Culture of ConversationComprehension questions 1. What made the author feel learning to converse in Mexico City was easier for him/her in one way, more difficult in another? It's easier because Mexicans service the relationship and they care about everyone in the conversation. But their conversation doesn„t move in a straight line, drifting around both in the topic and in the way they use words. 2. Why did the Mexican customer slide into the topic of the full eclipse of the sun? For the Mexican, the conversation starts with one topic, but if another interesting topic seeps in he or she will ride it around for a while. Sticking to the first topic is less important than having an interesting conversation. 3. What did the American businessman feel about the Mexican‟s way of conversation? For the American, a conversation should have a topic, and he wants to take a straight line through it from beginning to end. So he felt very impatient about the Mexican„s way of conversation. 4. What “conversational ideal” was represented by the example of a championship skier who was interviewed on TV? The Swedish conversational ideal is to response in a concise manner without elaborating specific details, especially those for self-promotion. . 5. What problems are likely to occur if an American talks with a Swede? The American may feel totally lost in the conversation since he or she would not get as much information from the Swede as he or she has expected. 6. What are the differences between Anglos and Athabaskans in conversation? There are a lot differences between them. For instance, at the beginning of a conversation, Anglos almost always speak first. Athabaskans think it is important to know what the social relationship is before they talk with someone. There is another difference in how long one should talk. Athabaskans tend to have longer turns when they talk with each other, but Anglos expect shorter turns. 7. Is it enough just to learn to speak in grammatically correct manners when one learns a foreign language? What else does he or she also need to know? It is far from enough just to learn to speak in grammatically correct manners when one learns a foreign language. One also has to know about the culture of using the language in social life, things like who talks first, who talks next, who3/6

opens and closes conversations and how they do it, in order to be able to use the language in culturally appropriate manners. 8. In what ways are Chinese similar to or different from the Americans, Mexicans and Swedes ? It seems that we Chinese are somewhat similar to Mexicans in the way we are having a conversation. Unlike Americans, we do not usually move in a straight line in a conversation and may also care much about the other„s feeling.Reading II The Way People SpeakComprehension questions 1. Why didn‟t the American openly disagree with the Italian? In general, the American did not enjoy verbal conflicts over politics or anything else. 2. What are the differences between “high involvement” style and “high considerateness” style? Many people from cultures that prefer ―high involvement styles tend to: (1) talk more; (2) interrupt more; (3) expect to be interrupted; (4) talk more loudly at times; and (5) talk more quickly than those from cultures favoring ―high considerateness styles. On the other hand, people from cultures that favor ―high considerateness styles tend to: (1) speak one at a time; (2) use polite listening sounds; (3) refrain from interrupting; and (4) give plenty of positive and respectful responses to their conversation partners. 3. How do New Yorkers and Californians perceive each other because of their differences in conversational style? To some New Yorkers, Californians seem slower, less intelligent, and not as responsive. To some Californians, New Yorkers seem pushy and domineering. 4. What does the author think is the reasonable way to react to cultural differences? We should know that the way the other speaks may be different from our way of speaking because he or she must have had a different cultural upbringing. We shouldn„t judge the other according to our own standards of what is an acceptable communication style. 5. How to determine whether a culture favors a direct or indirect style in communication? One way to determine whether a culture favors a direct or indirect style in communication is to find out how the people in that culture express disagreement or how they say, ―No. 6. On what occasions do American women tend to be more direct than men? When talking about emotional issues and feelings, American women tend to be more direct than men. 7. What are the goals of indirect communication? Indirect communication aims not to be angering, embarrassing, or shaming another person. Instead, it aims to be saving face and maintaining harmony in general.4/6

8. How is “Ping-Pong” conversational style different from “Bowling” style? In an American ―Ping-Pong‖ conversation, one person has the ball and then hits it to the other side of the table. The other player hits the ball back and the game continues. Each part of the conversation follows this pattern: the greeting and the opening, the discussion of a topic, and the closing and farewell. However, in a Japanese ―Bowling‖ conversation, each participant waits politely for a turn and knows exactly when the time is right to speak. That is, they know their place in line. In Japanese conversation, long silences are tolerated. For Americans, even two or three seconds of silence can become uncomfortable.Case StudyCase 17 When these two men separate, they may leave each other with very different impressions. Mr Richardson is very pleased to have made the acquaintance of Mr Chu and feels they have gotten off to a very good start. They have established their relationship on a first-name basis and Mr Chu„s smile seemed to indicate that he will be friendly and easy to do business with. Mr Richardson is particularly pleased that he had treated Mr Chu with respect for his Chinese background by calling him Hon-fai rather than using the western name, David, which seemed to him an unnecessary imposition of western culture. In contrast, Mr Chu feels quite uncomfortable with Mr Richardson. He feels it will be difficult to work with him, and that Mr Richardson might be rather insensitive to cultural differences. He is particularly bothered that, instead of calling him David or Mr Chu, Mr Richardson used his given name, Hon-fai, the name rarely used by anyone, in fact. It was this embarrassment which caused him to smile. He would feel more comfortable if they called each other Mr Chu and Mr Richardson. Nevertheless, when he was away at school in North America he learned that Americans feel uncomfortable calling people Mr for any extended period of time. His solution was to adopt a western name. He chose David for use in such situations. Case 18 Even if the American knew Urdu, the language spoken in Pakistan, he would also have to understand the culture of communication in that country to respond appropriately. In this case, he had to say ―No at least three times. In some countries, for instance, the Ukraine, it may happen that a guest is pressed as many as seven or eight times to take more food, whereas in the UK it would be unusual to do so more than twice. For a Ukrainian, to do it the British way would suggest the person is not actually generous. Indeed, British recipients of such hospitality sometimes feel that their host is behaving impolitely by forcing them into a bind, since they run out of polite refusal strategies long before the Ukrainian host has exhausted his/her repertoire of polite insistence strategies. Case 19 Talking about what„s wrong is not easy for people in any culture, but people in high-context countries like China put high priority on keeping harmony, preventing anyone from losing face, and nurturing the relationship. It seems that Ron Kelly had5/6

to learn a different way of sending message when he was in China. At home in Canada he would have gone directly to the point. But in China, going directly to the problem with someone may suggest that he or she has failed to live up to his or her responsibility and the honor of his or her organization is in question. In high-context cultures like China, such a message is serious and damaging. In low-context cultures, however, the tendency is just to ―spit it out, to get it into words and worry about the result later. Senders of unwelcome messages use objective facts, assuming, as with persuasion, that facts are neutral, instrumental, and impersonal. Indirectness is often the way members of high-context cultures choose to communicate about a problem. Case 20 It seems that the letters of request written in English as well as in Chinese by Chinese people are likely to preface the request with extended face-work. To Chinese people, the normal and polite way to form a request requires providing reasons that are usually placed before the requests. Of course, this is just the inverse of English conventions in which requests are fronted without much face-work. In the view of the English-speaking people, the opening lines of Chinese requests and some other speech acts do not usually provide a thesis or topic statement which will orient the listener to the overall direction of the communication. Worst of all, the lack of precision and the failure to address the point directly may lead to suspicions that the Chinese speakers are beating around the bush. To them, the presence of a clear and concise statement of what is to be talked about will make the speech more precise, more dramatic, and more eloquent. However, the Chinese learning and using English in communication may find it difficult to come to terms with the common English tendency to begin with a topic statement. In the Chinese culture, stating one„s request or main point at the beginning would make the person seem immodest, pushy, and inconsiderate for wanting things. If your speech gives others the impression that you are demanding something, you would lose face for acting aggressively and not considering the others. Thus you„d be hurting people by claiming something for yourself. In such a situation, it is usually considered a smart strategy if you carefully delineate the justifications that will naturally lead to your request or argument. Therefore, instead of stating their proposition somewhere in the beginning and then proceeding to build their case, Chinese people often first establish a shared context with which to judge their requests or arguments. Only after carefully prefacing them with an avalanche of relevant details, as if to nullify any opposition, will they present the requests or arguments.6/6

 
 

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