ERIC Number: ED252064
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Intercultural Communication in Central Australia. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 104.
Aboriginal discourse in central Australia is characterized by a refusal to impose a way of thinking on others, and correct discourse either carries a consensus or is abandoned. In addition, participants avoid being exposed personally in public settings, and good interactional style forbids speakers from forcing themselves on fellow participants in a manner leading to such exposure. Embarrassment occurs when public attention becomes focused on a person in a way that individualizes his participation. This discourse structure conflicts with Anglo-Australian behavior in many kinds of intercultural interactions. Government representatives are impatient to reach decisive resolutions, and hesitation in Aboriginal assemblies may result in loss of beneficial agreements. Aboriginal children in Australian schools often fail to respond to questions when singled out in class, and answers are often single words and highly repetitive of what has already been said. In addition, Aboriginal children speak when not addressed and often fail to "take turns", a hallmark of Aboriginal speech collaboration that generally goes unrecognized. Australian eductors have viewed the secondary socialization of Aboriginal children in Australian schools as an effort to individualize their collective modes of self-perception and social interaction. Such interactional asymmetries are repeated throughout Australian society in all ordinary intercultural contacts, and the Anglo-Australians' relative assertiveness assists their dominance over Aboriginal people. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.; National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.