ERIC Number: ED250944
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
To Gaze or Not to Gaze: Visual Communication in Eastern Zaire. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 87.
Blakely, Thomas D.
The nature of gazing at someone or something, as a form of communication among the Bahemba people in eastern Zaire, is analyzed across a range of situations. Variations of steady gazing, a common eye contact routine, are outlined, including: (1) negative non-gazing or glance routines, especially in situations in which gazing would ordinarily occur; (2) gazing for visual acquisition of knowledge, characterized in various lexical items indicating positive results of the gazing or knowledge acquisition by more than one sense; (3) long and unhurried scrutiny, with different terms to describe cautious looking, speculative looking, or participation in a process one is watching; (4) glancing and then blinking hard and looking away, serving as a warning to the speaker; (5) rapid blinking as an insult; (6) eye-rolling associated with witchcraft; (7) gazing with eyes half-closed and head tilted back as an immature gesture; (8) eye-contact avoidance as embarrassment or humility; (9) darting sideways glances as an indication of fear; and (10) intense gazing, sometimes with narrowed eyes or wide open eyes to show anger. Childhood error in understanding gazing routines, finer distinctions in gaze type, limits to gaze duration, less readily-elicited Hemba terms for non-negative short gazes and scans, and the interaction of other situational factors in distinguishing gazes are also discussed. (MSE)
Descriptors: African Languages, Cultural Context, Eye Contact, Eye Movements, Foreign Countries, Interpersonal Communication, Semantics, Social Behavior, Sociolinguistics, Vocabulary
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th St., Austin, TX 78701.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.