Silence in Intercultural Communication

Perceptions and performance

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How and why is silence used interculturally? Approaching the phenomenon of silence from multiple perspectives, this book shows how silence is used, perceived and at times misinterpreted in intercultural communication. Using a model of key aspects of silence in communication – linguistic, cognitive and sociopsychological – and fundamental levels of social organization – individual, situational and sociocultural - the book explores the intricate relationship between perceptions and performance of silence in interaction involving Japanese and Australian participants. Through a combination of macro- and micro- ethnographic analyses of university seminar interactions, the stereotypes of the ‘silent East’ is reconsidered, and the tension between local and sociocultural perspectives of intercultural communication is addressed. The book has relevance to researchers and students in intercultural pragmatics, discourse analysis and applied linguistics.

Subjects: Communication Studies; Discourse studies; Japanese linguistics; Pragmatics; English linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Melbourne

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