Interlocutors in each communication event will, usually out-of-awareness, arrange themselves and others along the context scale. Text Context
House buying The written sale particulars Advertising -LCC cultures: slogans, wordplay, the text, informative, factual (Naughty but nice = chocolate; By Schhhhhhh … you know who = Tonic water; Just do it = sneakers) -HCC cultures: visuals, aesthetics, feelings, expressive (Oliviero Toscanis pictures for Benetton)
Clarity: priority on simplicity KISS principle: keep it short and simple the C-B-S style: clarity, brevity and sincerity Proper words in proper places make the true definition of style (Swift) Be short, be simple, be human (Gowers)
-The Economist Pocket Style Guide -Le figure e lo spazio Le figure sono sempre rigorosamente volumetriche, più vicine al rigore spaziale della scultura che alle estenuate cadenze melodiche medio-bizantine. -To induce a feeling, poetic language -Information? Facts? The figures have a disciplined geometry, closer to sculpture than to the sweeping curves of Middle Byzantine.
Gli speaker possono restare 7 giorni presso lalbergo -Implied information: the dates, the type of room, paid by conference Single room accomodation for speakers will be paid by the conference organizers for a maximum of 6 nights between 7 th and 16 th July.
Formality and informality in the text -Long sentences short sentences -Coordinating conjunctions full stops -Impersonal personal -Formal register informal register -Complicated grammatical constructions simple grammatical constructions -Nominal style verbal style -Baroque constructions clear construction
Distancing devices: -It is possible to use the telephone (May/Could/ Can I use the phone?) -It is essential that this is read (You must/should/ought to read this) -This is how it is done (This is how we do it/you should do it) Titles -HCC: the status -LCC: categorization, definition
In Germany: Herr Doktor Muller and Frau Doktor Muller In Italy In England: Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms -Buongiorno Signor Presidente -Good morning Mr Donaggio
Affective Communication Transmission of information Interpersonal communication HCC: communication implies an affective response LCC: communication does not imply an affective response
OrientationLanguagePossible cultural priority IndirectIndirect (conditionals, softners), silence, indirect eye-contact Conflict avoidance Face-saving Harmony Tact and diplomacy Avoidance of power distance DirectDirect (present tense, imperatives), raised voices, direct eye-contact Acceptance of conflict Acceptance of power distance Clarity Immediacy
Indirectness and miscommunication HCC: indirect orientation Its not what we say but how Silence is golden Sugar the pill LCC: clear, unambiguous and explicit communication Grice: Cooperative maxims 1) The maxim of quantity: as much information as needed
2) The maxim of quality: speak truthfully 3) The maxim of relevance: things that are relevant 4) The maxim of manner: say things clearly and briefly Example of misunderstanding President Nixon and Prime Minister Sato: trade and the Okinawan islands I will deal with the matter in a forward-looking manner Nixon felt betrayed and thought all Japanese polititians liars and utterly untrustworthy
Grices cooperative maxims do not function in the same way across cultures Translation: to mediate, to manipulate, the right interpretative frame Example Has my business proposal been accepted? Asian businessmens answers: -If everything procedes as planned, the proposal will be approved (Yes) -We cannot answer this question at this time. (No) -Yes, your approval looks likely, but … (No)
The meaning of Yes Yes: not only direct affirmation, the receiver understands Example English: Thank you for your presentation – it was very clear Italian: Yes -Oh, really? -Thank you very much. -Well, thats very kind of you.
The meaning of no -The relative frequency of no per half-hour in negotiations: Japanese: 8.4 American: 9 Brazilian: 84.7 The meaning of no is culture bound -American culture: say what you mean -Japanese culture: harmony, no strong statement -Brazilian: a spontaneous expression of feelings. It is negotiable (Unreliable)
British indirectness Freedom, respect for privacy, not wishing to impose (listener oriented) Indirect use of language, indirect requests, thank you Italy: self-expression (author oriented), involvement Example (Children) A: Could I have a go on my bicycle, please? B: No. A: (exit crying)
Example (Italo Calvino - Colquhoun) -Signorina, - chiese -Dimmi. -Perché piange? -Signorina he asked. -Yes? [not tell me] -Why are you crying? -Imperative: coercive and face threatening act.
In Amsterdam Moroccan: I must have one kilo of onions Dutch: Such a thing we ask here politely. HCC: politeness is implicit in the context LCC: politeness in the text (not in the context)
Cushioning: a metaphor for the mental process Send this fax: to soften it I need some cushions. - Mediators: to context their interlocutors (familiarity, position, delicacy of the request, the social context, more urgency, good rapport, bad rapport) and be aware of the degree of inderectness required
Example (Servegnini) In a restaurant in Bologna I want to change my table And in England? I am afraid this table is not entirely convenient. Semi-serious appropriate translations - Your English is somewhat unnatural = Your English is frightening
-I agree up to a point = What a stupidity -Im a bit tired = Im in pieces -Shes not very tall = Shes a short girl -Shes not very nice = Shes unpleasant Resta il fatto che gli inglesi non sempre vogliono dire quello che dicono, e quasi mai dicono quello che vogliono dire.
Send this fax, please = Spedisca questo fax Can you … = Mi può spedire questo fax? Could you … = Mi spedisca questo fax, per favore. I wonder if I could ask you … = mi potrebbe spedire questo fax? I was wondering if I could ask you … = mi potrebbe spedire questo fax? Do you think I could ask you to … =
Facts/Feelings Expressive or instrumental orientations - Expressive cultures: orientation towards feelings, people, relationships, non-verbal communication -Instrumental cultures: orientation towards facts, self- control, the issues Example A meeting Anglo/American approach: a written agenda, the chair Expressive cultures: ideas, feelings, opinions (Real decisions may have already been made).
The Verbalization of Emotion -Internalization of feelings: Children should be seen but not heard. Keep a stiff upper lip. Bite the bullet. Big boys dont cry. Self-control. -The percentage of respondents who would keep their feelings to themselves Italy: 29; USA: 40; UK: 71 (to wear your heart on your sleeve)
Verbalization of emotion in British society only takes place after breaking-point. We may think that a Frenchman who curses us in a traffic accident is truly enraged, close to violence. In fact, he may simply be getting his view of the facts in first and may expect a similar stream of vituperation from us in return.
Under/Overstatement OrientationLanguagePossible cultural priorities OverstatementHyperboleVisibility of speaker and feelings, full expression of meaning Spotlight in speaker Understatement perceived as: Sign of weakness UnderstatementLitoteSpeaker modesty Listener to construct full meaning Overstatement perceived as: sign of conceit.
Examples Job interview Clean-up campaign Keep America Beautiful Keep Britain Tidy Tieni pulito il tuo paese.
Turn-taking -Anglo-Saxon verbal interaction is without conversation overlaps -Japanese: silence -Brazilians: overlaps.