ERIC Number: ED344472
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Japanese as Linguists: Translingual and Intercultural Communication in a Japanese Computer-Assembly Plant in Germany.
Sutherland, Janet; Lide, Francis
Field research conducted at a Japanese computer-assembly plant in Germany is reported, and aspects of translingual and intercultural communication between two American competitors, the Japanese and the Germans, are examined. Translingual communication is defined as any language-based communication and information transfer between native speakers of different languages. In the plant studied, there was a strong territorial presumption for the use of German in all situations, but English was declared by the Japanese company to be the house language and was used for signs, facility tours, product labeling, technical manuals, and computer keyboard configuration. Cultural differences centered around open versus closed office space, length of the working day, behavior in meetings, and decision making. It is concluded that the linguistic accommodation Japanese people show toward Americans is not the general rule, but that the Japanese strategy appears to be to concentrate on English as their second language for use in the English-speaking world and then to attempt to negotiate it elsewhere. It is suggested that although English is the dominant world language, it does not decrease the need for access to information encoded in other languages and the conditions under which the language of communication is negotiated in translingual situations. (LB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Germany; Japanese People
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Eastern Michigan University Conference on Languages and Communications for World Business and the Professions (10th, Ypsilanti, MI, April 3-5, 1991).