ERIC Number: ED278054
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jan
Reference Count: 0
How Does Natural Environment Affect American and Japanese Ways of Expressing Themselves?
Doshisha Studies in English, n28 p114-133 Jan 1982
An essay compares Japanese and American language, reflecting on the fundamental culture-based differences between methods of communication in Japan and the United States. Japanese and Americans have different systems of logic and thought, attitudes, and ways of expressing themselves, all of which are affected by their respective background cultures. Natural environment is one of the major aspects of background culture, and it affects the method of expression, vocabulary, topic of conversation, values, and attitudes. People in Japan tend to express themselves as a part of nature, while Americans express themselves as the center of nature. Thus Japanese sentences often begin with conditions while English sentences start with people. Japanese also tend to use the passive voice more than Americans. In the same vein, the Japanese tend to use impersonal constructions, while Americans often use personal constructions. Natural background is one of the factors that has made Japanese descriptive and concrete and English analytic and abstract. Language is deeply related to background culture and culture is strongly affected by the natural environment. Therefore, language is influenced by its natural background in a variety of ways. (NKA)
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Background, Cultural Differences, Cultural Images, Cultural Influences, Cultural Traits, Culture Conflict, Culture Contact, Environmental Influences, Intercultural Communication, Japanese, Japanese Culture, Language Patterns, Language Styles, Language Usage, North American Culture, North American English, Physical Environment
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Doshisha Univ., Kyoto (Japan).
Note: A product of the Department of English.