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ERIC Number: EJ932532
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 68
ISSN: ISSN-0163-853X
Judgments Concerning the Valence of Inter-Turn Silence across Speakers of American English, Italian, and Japanese
Roberts, Felicia; Margutti, Piera; Takano, Shoji
Discourse Processes: A Multidisciplinary Journal, v48 n5 p331-354 2011
The fact that people with minimal linguistic skill can manage in unfamiliar or reduced linguistic environments suggests that there are universal mechanisms of meaning construction that operate at a level well beyond the particular structure or semantics of any one language. The authors examine this possibility in the domain of discourse by focusing on how gaps arising at the juncture between 2 persons' turns-at-talk (inter-turn silences) are evaluated by speakers of typologically distinct languages: English, Italian, and Japanese. This cross-linguistic design allows the testing of both universal and relative aspects in orientation to silence. For this study, the effects of inter-turn silence are tested using study participants' ratings of speakers' willingness to comply with requests or agree with assessments that were embedded in conversations. In a 3 x 2 x 3 between-groups design, 3 silence lengths (0 ms, 600 ms, or 1200 ms) were crossed with 2 speech act types (requests and assessments) in manipulations of telephone conversations that were modeled on an actual telephone call between friends. Native-speaking study participants, in their home countries, provided ratings on Likert-type scales. Ratings significantly decreased within each language group at longer inter-turn silences, indicating a generalized response to the gaps; however, means were also significantly different between groups, indicating different expectations for agreement. (Contains 5 footnotes, 1 table, and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy; Japan; United States