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ERIC Number: EJ939939
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-1345-8353
Western and Japanese Discourse Style in a Consensus-Building Task Discussion
Hirabayashi, Haruma; Long, Christopher
Journal of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, v15 n1 p39-48 2011
The current study analyzes discourse style differences between western and Japanese interlocutors in a group consensus-building task discussion. Four discussants (American male, Japanese male, German female and Japanese female) first created a ranking of 5 life values and then participated in a group discussion to arrive at a common group ranking. Qualitative analyses revealed (1) that the Japanese male used a strikingly greater number of backchannels and nodding compared to the other three participants; and (2) that the total number of words uttered by the Japanese female was strikingly less than the other participants. Qualitative analyses further indicated that the Japanese male utilized backchannels to fulfill a variety of functions (e.g., to express listenership, opinions, and turn management) and the Japanese female used polite or humbling expressions regarding her own English ability (i.e., "I can't speak English well"). Analyses of post-discussion evaluations revealed that the Japanese female was evaluated lower than the other participants, a finding which suggests that limited participation (and not the use of frequent backchannels) negatively impacts the psychological orientation of interlocutors in intercultural communication. The significance of this finding is discussed in relation to the predictions of previous research. (Contains 3 tables.)
Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics. Department of English, Namseoul University, 21 Maeju-ri, Seonghwan-eup, Cheonan-city, Choongnam, Korea 330-707. Tel: +82-2-3290-1995; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany; Japan