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ERIC Number: ED260579
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Effects of Social Environment on Japanese and American Communication.
Kitao, Kenji; Kitao, S. Kathleen
The social backgrounds of Japanese and Americans differ in ways that impede complete communication. The Japanese people, historically controlled by the forces of nature, have formed groups as the minimum functioning social units. The individual is only part of the group, and individual rights and obligations have not been clearly developed. Disagreement, if expressed, is expressed ambiguously. Relationships are vertical, and people must determine the level of politeness to use in interactions. To maintain harmonious relationships, good speakers place themselves below the listeners, sometimes not saying enough and expecting the listener to understand by inference. Since the subject of a sentence is often not stated, speakers may give their opinions as someone else's or someone else's opinions as their own. In contrast, native English-speaking peoples historically have not been as dependent on each other for survival; individualism and privacy are well-developed, and individual rights and obligations are clear. Individuals express their own opinions and emotions clearly. Human relationships are horizontal, and people like to think of themselves as equal to everyone else. This is expressed in gestures, manners of speaking, and eye contact. Teaching these cultural differences in language classrooms would help improve intercultural communication. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A