Luận văn A Vietnamese - American cross-cultural study of conversational distances - Lê Thị Huyền

I owe my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, M.A Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, without whose valuable comments and guidance, my thesis would not have been accomplished. My special thanks go to my colleagues from Haiphong Water Supply Company, those who helped me fill in my survey questionairequestionnaire and give me constructive suggestions in completing this thesis.

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CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY OF STUDY PROJECT REPORT I certify my authority of the Study Project Report submitted entitled A VIETNAMESE - AMERICAN CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY OF CONVERSATIONAL DISTANCES In fulfilmentfulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts Le Thi Huyen Acknowledgements I owe my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, M.A Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, without whose valuable comments and guidance, my thesis would not have been accomplished. My special thanks go to my colleagues from Haiphong Water Supply Company, those who helped me fill in my survey questionairequestionnaire and give me constructive suggestions in completing this thesis. And I am immensely grateful to my former teacher, Ms. Stacy Thompson, who is living and working in the United States. She has helped me conduct my survey in the United States. I owe my family great attitude for theirMy family: my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and my boyfriend have been a constant source of love, support and encouragement. Finally, I should acknowledge my indebtedness to all my friends for their assistance during the process of preparing for this research. Le Thi Huyen ABSTRACTIn the abstract, summary of the findings should be presented. Even the best verbal communication skills are not enough to create and sustain successful relationships. Good relationships, both at home and at work, require the ability to communicate with emotional intelligence. Part of our culture involves an unspoken rule that people should ignore nonverbal elements– as if the injunction were, "hear what I say, and don't notice the way I say it." These elements are often ignored in school or overridden by parents, so the task of incorporating conscious sensitivity to nonverbal communications is made more difficult. Thus, this thesis is an attempt to provide a cross-cultural comparison of common conversational distances, their frequency used in American and Vietnamese cultures and factors affecting conversational distances. Special emphasis is given to : - classification and usage of conversational distances as well as and their usage - factors affecting conversational distances. Rewrite to make it one sentence The implications are suggested and recommendations provided for avoidance of culture shock and cross-cultural communication breakdown.Summary of the findings and implications/recommendations should be presented in the abstract For instance, American people tend to use close phase of intimate distance when showing intimate emotion with mothers more than Vietnamese. Besides, there is not much difference whether between brothers or sisters in keeping intimate distance when showing intimate emotion in American, whereas, Vietnamese people tend to keep closer distance with their sister than brother. It is also concluded that if two Americans of opposite sex informants are conversing, they find close phase easier, freer and more conventional , however, it is applied for every case that if the communicative partners are of the same sex then closer distance is more popular with Vietnamese informants. LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES Figure 1: Percentage of verbal and nonverbal communication in common use Diagram 1: Classification of nonverbal communication Table 1: Further clarification of nonverbal communication Table 2: Sub-distances of intimate distance and their communicators Table 3: Sub-distances of personal distance and their communicators Table 4: Sub-distances of social distance and their communicators Table 5: Sub-distances of public distance and their communicators Table 6: Interactions among messages, tones of voice and distances between faces Table 7: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their mother Table 8: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their father Table 9: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their brother Table 10: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their sister Table 11: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their same-sex close friend (two male friends) Table 12: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their same-sex close friend (two female friends) Table 13: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their opposite-sex close friend Table 14: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their same-sex acquaintance Table 15: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their opposite-sex acquaintance Table 16: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their same-sex colleague Table 17: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their opposite-sex colleague Table 18: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with their boss Table 19: Figures on using conversational distances by informants between 20 and 40 years old Table 20: Figures on using conversational distances by informants above 40 years old Table 21: Figures on using conversational distances by male informants Table 22: Figures on using conversational distances by female informants Table 23: Figures on using conversational distances by informants living in rural areas Table 24: Figures on using conversational distances by informants living in urban areas Table 25: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with teamwork occupation Table 26: Figures on using conversational distances by informants with independent work occupation TABLE OF CONTENTSPlease reformate chapter 2 Appendices References??? Appendices??? PART A: INTRODUCTION I. Rationale Stated briefly, how something is expressed may carry more significance and weight than what is said, the words themselves. Accompanied by a smile or a frown, said with a loud, scolding voice or a gentle, easy one, the contents of our communications are framed by our holistic perceptions of their context. Those sending the messages may learn to understand themselves better as well as learning to exert some greater consciousness about their manner of speech. Those receiving the messages may learn to better understand their own intuitive responses–sometimes in contrast to what it seems "reasonable" to think. The use of physical space by individuals in their interactions with others can be considered as one of the most critical signals of nonverbal communication as this use of physical space seems to be different from culture to culture; thus, ways of interpretation of the same space message are also various. In the 1950's, American anthropologist Edward T. Hall pioneered proxemics to describe set measurable distances between people as they interact. Like gravity, the influence of two bodies on each other is inversely proportional not only to the square of their distance but possibly even the cube of the distance between them (Hall, 1966). Hall notes that different cultures maintain different standards of personal space. In Latin cultures, for instance, those relative distances are smaller, and people tend to be more comfortable standing close to each other; in Nordic cultures the opposite is true. Realizing and recognizing these cultural differences improves cross-cultural understanding, and helps eliminate discomfort people may feel if the interpersonal distance is too large ("stand-offish") or too small (intrusive). Comfortable personal distances also depend on the culture, social situation, gender, and individual preference. In this thesis, we will discuss conversational distances and its effects on human communication. Additionally, we will compare and contrast the way Vietnamese and American informants apply conversational distances with certain subjects. It is expected that the findings will, to a certain extent, raise readers’ awareness of the importance of nonverbal communication and provide useful recommendations to Vietnamese learners of English for avoidance of culture shock in conversational distances when conducting face-to-face interactions with their Anglophone partners. II. Aims of the study The aims of the study are: To investigate types of conversational distances in human interactionsBy Vietnamese and Americans? Please specify, otherwise it will be too general. To compare and contrast types of conversational distances in human interactions and the influence of the informants’ parameters on conversational distances in the two cultures in order to clarify similarities and differences in the way the Vietnamese and the American apply conversational distances. To provide recommendations to the Vietnamese learners of English for avoidance of culture shock in conversational distances. In order to achieve the aims of the study, the following research questions are to be addressed: What are the conversational distances of the Vietnamese informants in given situations? What are the conversational distances of the American informants in given situations? What are the main similarities and differences in conversational distances between Vietnamese and American informants? What are the recommendations to the Vietnamese learners of English for avoidance of culture shock in conversational distances? III. Scope of the study The study stresses upon the nonverbal communication. Extralinguistically, the study especially discusses the conversational distances in the two cultures: Vietnamese and American. IV. Methodology As the study dwells largely on the practical aspects of cross-cultural communication, the main method employed in the study is quantitative with due reference to qualitative method. Besides, contrastive analysis is also used. Therefore, all considerations, comments and conclusions in this thesis are largely based on: Reference to relevant home and foreign publication in both primary and secondary research; Survey questionairesquestionnaires; Statistics, descriptions and analysis of the collected and selected data; Personal observations and experience; Consultations with supervisors; Discussions with Vietnamese and foreign teacherscolleagues V. Design of the study The study falls into three main parts: PART A: INTRODUCTION: Rationale Aims of the study Scope of the study Methods of the study Design of the study PART B: DEVELOPMENT: Chapter 1: Background concepts Chapter 2: Conversational distances as nonverbal communication Chapter 3: Data analysis and discussion PART C: CONCLUSION PART B: DEVELOPMENT ChapterHAPTER 1: Literature reviewBACKGROUND CONCEPTSShould we have a short introduction to this chapter before Section 1? May be a summary of this chapter should be given at the beginning to guide the readers through the chapter? In this chapter, definition and types of communication will be presented. Simultaneously, definition of nonverbal communication will be given out and significance of nonverbal communication shall also be taken into consideration in order to emphasize its role in human interactions. 1. What is communication? 1.1 Definition of communication There have been many definitions of “communication” with various emphasis on different factors. According to Nguyen Quang (F:27), they can be classified withinto: Emphasis on the hearer: According to Ronald B. Alder & George Rodman (1998), “: Ccommunication refers to the process man being responding to the face-to-face symbolic behaviour of other persons”. Emphasis on both the speaker and the hearer: This point of view is shared by Ronald B. Alder & George Rodman (1998) and Levine and Adelman (1993). If Ronald B. Alder & George Rodman (1998) supposed that “: Ccommunication refers to the process man being responding to the face-to-face symbolic behaviour of other persons”, . Levine and Adelman (1993) described it as: T “the process of sharing meaning through verbal and nonverbal behaviour”. Emhasis on the meaning of the intended message: If Zimmerman et al. (1991: 4) mentioned this when illustrating communcation as: T “the process in which persons assign meanings to events and especially to the behaviour of other persons”, . Verderber (1989: 4) had another approach: “Communication may be defined as the transactional process of creating meaning. A transactional process is one in which those persons communicating are mutually responsible for what occurs”. Emphasis on the message conveyed: Saville-Troike (1986) identified that: C “communication is [...] considered the process of sharing and exchanging information between people both verbally and nonverbally”. Emphasis on the information, concept, attitude and emotion of the message conveyed: It is clarified in the definition of Hybels, S. and Weaver, R. (1992: 5) that: “c Communication is any process in which people share information, ideas and feelings that involve not only the spoken and written words but also body language, personal mannerisms and style, the surrounding and things that add meaning to a message”. In the lead in sentence, you said that Nguyen Quang classified these factors, however, in the content you just use quotations from other experts. It is advisable that you rewrite this section and also add your personal comments rather than simply listing the quotations. Among the definitions above-mentioned aboveEither use “the above-mentioned definitions” or “the definition mentioned above” , the one proposed by Hybels & Weaver (1992) is the most sufficient and convincing since they have, according to Nguyen Quang (F: 29), - pointed out the action, interaction and transaction nature of communication; - specified the characteristics of communication ,- specified the means to carry out communication and - specified different levels of communication. Should rewrite into one paragraph rather than using bullet point. And use italic format the highlight (if you want to emphasize) 1.2 Types of communication Hybels, S. and Weaver, R II (1992: 14) explain that there are different kinds of communication, among which the most frequently used ones areoften used kinds are: intrapersonal, interpersonal, interviews, small group and public communication. Intrapersonal communication Intrapersonal communication is communication that occurs within us. It involves thoughts, feelings and the way we look at ourselves. Because intrapersonal communication is centered in the self, you are the only sender-receiver. The message is makde up of your thoughts and feelings. The channel is your brain, which processes what you are thinking and feeling. There is feedback in the sense that as you talk to yourself, you discard certain ideas and replace them with others. Interpersonal communication Interpersonal communication occurs when we communicate on a one-to-one basis - usually in an informal, unstructured setting. This kind of communication occurs mostly between two people, though it may include more than two. Interpersonal communication uses all the elements of the communication process. In a conversation between friends, for example, each brings his or her background and experience to the conversation. During the conversation each functions as sender-receiver. Their messages consist of both verbal and nonverbal symbols. The channels they use the most are sight and sound. Because interpersonal communication is between two (or a few) people, it offers the greatest opportunities for feedback. The persons involved in the conversation have many chances to check that the message is being perceived correctly. Interpersonal communication usually takes place in informal and comfortable settings. Interview An interview is a series of questions and answers, usually involving two people whose primary purpose is to obtain information on particular subject. One common type is the job interview, in which the employer asks the job candidate questions to determine whether he or she is suitable for the job. Another type is an information interview where the interviewer tries to get information about a particular subject. In interviewing, the sender-receivers take turns talking - one person asks a question and the other responds. Both persons, however, are continuously and simultaneously sending nonverbal messages. Because interviews usually take place face to face, a lot of nonverbal information is exchanged. Feedback is very high in an interview. Since the interview has a specific purpose, the communication setting is usually quite formal. Small group communication Small group communication occurs when a small number of people meet to solve a problem. The group must be small enough so that each member in the group has a chance to interact with all other members. Because small groups are made up of several sender-receivers, the communication process is more complicated than in interpersonal communication. With so many more people sending messages, there are more chances for confusion. Messages are also more structured in small group because the group is meeting together for a specific purpose. Small groups use the same channels as interpersonal communication, however, and there is also a good deal of opportunity for feedback, and the settings are also more formal. Public communication In public communication the sender-receiver (speaker) sends a message (the speech) to an audience. The speaker usually delivers a highly-structured message, using the same channels as interpersonal communication and small-group communication. In public communication, however, the channels are more exaggerated than in interpersonal communication. The voice is louder and the gestures are more expeansiveDo you mean “expressive”? because the audience is bigger. Generally, the opportunity for verbal feedback in public communication is limited. In most public communication the setting is formal. 2. What is nonverbal communication? 2.1 Definition of nonverbal communication Even if someone decides to say nothing, they are still communicating. So in fact, how is the information conveyed? Today, many researchers are concerned with the information sent by communication that is independent of and different from verbal information; namely, the nonverbal communication. Verbal communication is organized by language; nonverbal communication is not. Communication is the transfer of information from one person to another. Most of us spend about 75 percent of our waking huorshours communicating our knowledge, thoughts and ideas to others. However, most of us fail to realize that a great deal of our communication is a nonverbal form as opposed to the oral and written forms. Nonverbal communication includes facial expression, eye contact, tone of voice, body posture and motions, and positioning within groups. It may also include the way we wear our clothes or the silence we keep. One study done by Albert Mehrabian (1972) in the United States showed that in the communication of attitude, 93 percent of the message was transmitted by the tone of the voice and by facial expressions, whereas only 7 percent of the speaker’s attitude was transmitted by words. Apparently, we express our emotions and attitudes more nonverbally than verbally. Thus the way a person uses voice, body movement (for example eye contact, facial expression, gesture, and posture), clothing and body appearance, space, touch and time is an essential part of every message that he or she sends. You should add caption to this pie chart. Figure 1: Percentage of verbal and nonverbal communication in common use Nonverbal communication expresses meaning or feeling without words. Universal emotions, such as happiness, fear and sadness are expressed in a similar nonverbal way throughout the world. There are, however, nonverbal differences across cultures that may be a source of confusion for foreigners. For example, feelings of friendship exist everywhere but their expression varies. It may be acceptable in some countries for men to embrace each oth
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