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Nonverbal

 
Вернуться в  Учебные пособия по англ. яз.

Предисловие от издательства

(© Л. Броснахан, 1998)


Эта книга представляет собой курс лекций, посвященный, специфике невербальных аспектов русскоязычной культуры в сравнении с культурой народов, говорящих на английском языке. Она предназначена, в первую очередь, в качестве учебного пособия для тех, кто профессионально изучает англоязычную культуру: преподавателям и студентам факультетов иностранных языков университетов и педагогических институтов, а также тем, кто профессионально участвует в межкультурном диалоге: переводчикам, политикам и бизнесменам различного уровня и их консультантам, сотрудникам совместных предприятий, международных организаций.

Книга может стать основой спецкурсов по межкультурному общению для изучающих английский язык в учебных заведениях нового типа — гимназиях, лицеях, колледжах, причем не только гуманитарного направления. Сегодня во многих странах Европейского Сообщества и в США межкультурная компетенция входит в набор необходимых знаний современных специалистов самого широкого круга.

Работа профессора Л. Броснахана актуальна и весьма оригинальна. В одной книге и в одном контексте в сопоставительном плане рассматривается многоаспектный комплекс невербальной культуры. Кроме постоянно привлекающих внимание ученых жестов, телодвижений, мимики, проксемики, автор исследует организацию динамического пространства города, расположение в нем людей и предметов; устройство жилого и рабочего помещения; роль и значение в сопоставляемых культурах человеческого костюма, различных вещей; типичное для тех или иных ситуаций поведение, включая" манеру" смотреть или не смотреть друг на друга, говорить или "держать" паузу и многое другое.

Принципиальным для автора является комментарий тех случаев, когда расхождения в русской и англоязычной невербальных культурах вызывают затруднения в межкультурном диалоге — от состояния психологического дискомфорта, ошибочных интерпретаций и неадекватных реакций на поведение партнера, до серьезных коммуникативных неудач.

Подчеркнем — в книге представлен анализ русской невербальной культуры, рассматриваемой через призму культуры англоговорящих народов. Британский, американский и другие варианты англоязычной культуры сознательно не различаются, так как акцент делается на том, что специфично для невербального поведения всех англоговорящих народов по сравнению с поведением людей, для которых родным является широкий контекст русского языка и культуры. В этом — своеобразие авторской концепции, поэтому воспринимать неизбежные при таком подходе обобщения будем с уместной в данном случае осторожностью.

В заключение отметим, что нам хотелось бы адресовать нашу книгу всем, кто интересуется английским языком и культурой, а также стремится глубже изучить и понять свою родную культуру.

Об авторе

Леджер Николас Броснахан (1929) — доктор наук, профессор Иллинойского государственного университета США, автор монографий "Японские и английские жесты", "Китайские и английские жесты". Получил образование в Джорджтаунском и Гарвардском университетах, преподавал английский язык как родной и иностранный в высших учебных заведениях США, Франции, Японии, Китая, России. С 1970г. преподает в Иллинойском университете английский язык и литературу и английский как иностранный. Проводит научные исследования в области этнопсихолингвистики.

Introduction
Actions speak louder than words

Human communication is usually divided first into verbal (using words) and nonverbal (gestural) systems. The verbal communication system is further divided into speech and writing, each with a productive and receptive aspect: listening and speaking, reading and writing. The nonverbal communication (NVC) system is farther divided into body language (gestures), artifact language (clothing to cars), and environmental language (housing to city planning), each with its productive and receptive aspect. Human nonverbal systems are largely shared with lower animals and might be classified as subhuman. Speech is what characterizes us as human and surely should be classified human. Writing, unlike speech, is not every human's possession and might well be classified as superhuman. When we learn our native language, we learn most of these communication systems informally and naturally by observation and imitation. Only the writing system of the native language must be learned formally in schools.

Learning Foreign Languages

Learning a foreign language is traditionally the pursuit of the prestige form of its writing system. Since World War II it has also commonly included pursuit of the prestige form of its speech system. But the study of foreign speech implies face-to-face interaction with foreigners in which nonverbal communication necessarily comes into play and may even play a larger part than speech in communication. Only within the last thirty years has NVC come to be widely appreciated for its important role in communication and begun to claim a share of the attention of students and teachers of foreign language. A really full or balanced control of a foreign language must also include pursuit of the prestige form of its nonverbal or gestural system. To describe the differences between the nonverbal systems of Russian and English is the purpose of this book, which is intended for teachers and students interested in pursuing a full and balanced control of all three of the communication systems of Russian or English: writing, speech, and NVC. In this text, Russian usually describes the behavior of educated native speakers of standard Russian, and English describes the behavior of educated speakers of standard English.

The gross differences between the Russian and English writing systems and speech systems should make the users of either language who are pursuing competence in the other expect important differences in the nonverbal systems of these languages because nonverbal systems vary between languages just as speech and writing systems do. NVC is learned even earlier and less consciously than speech and seems as natural as breathing or seeing. Our natural unawareness of acquiring and producing NVC, our desensitization to all NVC cues not part of our own system, and the traditional lack of formal and technical instruction in foreign-language courses about the differences of NVC between languages combine to create a remarkably fruitful area for misunderstanding in intercultural contacts. The solution to this problem is raising to consciousness our own nonverbal behavior (many people honestly think they do not use any gestures) and then contrasting it with the nonverbal system of the target language. The study of only writing and speech is simply inadequate for effective face-to-face interaction with foreigners.

The NVC of primary interest to foreign-language students is not the gestural systems of the deaf or of other specialist groups but the nonspecialist cues that are the common possession of all speakers of the target language. These gestures are learned just as language is and at the same time. They are largely language-specific, and the same gesture may have quite different meanings in different languages, just as the same meaning may be conveyed by entirely different gestures in different languages. This is where the problem arises.

The Nature of Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is perfectly natural but not simple. Nonverbal cues can be sent by any arrangeable material and received by all five senses, can be innate or learned, voluntary or involuntary, arbitrary or iconic, precise or ambiguous, universal or culture-bound, expressive or communicative, sincere or ironic, doubtful or trustworthy. They can confirm, reinforce, repeat, contradict, or replace speech. They can punctuate conversation, control floor apportionment, show emotions, attitudes, or states of health, express wishes or opinions, and define the social relationship of senders and receivers. Most important of all, nonverbal cues are extremely context-sensitive. Like words, they can have very precise meaning in a given context, but in a simple list, like words in a dictionary, they can only be defined in their most general meanings, which have only general validity. In particular contexts, they may have quite different meanings or even no meaning at all.

NVC is a rather weak or blunt instrument when compared with either speech or writing though it is more pervasive than either. In practice, rather than in this text, NVC cues occur in rather elaborate clusters which usually include speech, intonations, postures, gestures, objects, and environment, all of which combine and interact and modify the meanings of all the others. The elements of these clusters may contain an occasional discordant cue, but usually cues are consistent and tend to confirm one another and make one another more precise.

This book deals mainly with differences in NVC between Russian and English, but it should be kept in mind that shared behavior, like our shared biology, always dwarfs the differences. Similarities draw no attention to themselves and are likely to be discounted and overlooked, but a great deal of NVC is either programmed, like the smile, the eyebrow flash, pupil size, and startle reaction, or is limited by the shared limitations of the body. The shared ground is large but likely to be minimized both in real life and in this book.

We should not lose sight of the bulk of similarities as we concentrate up on the differences. It is also generally observed that the frequency and freedom with which voluntary gestures are used decline importantly with advancing age, education, and social status, as increasing constraints are placed on a person's behavior in public, though behavior in private is likely to be considerably less constrained and still less constrained when a person is alone. Our concern, of course, will be almost exclusively with public behavior.

Some Rules and Cautions

In beginning the study of NVC, it is well to keep in mind a few general rules. First, the Familiarity Rule ( прим. стереотип восприятия, выражающийся правилом "свое, привычное — значит правильное" и наоборот ): Familiarity is everything. What we find in life we come to think of as what is in life and therefore what is right in life. All differences from the customary are first seen as strange and unfamiliar and therefore wrong or childish, because children are our commonest examples of those who do not know how to behave properly. We also have a perfectly natural tendency to rationalize the superiority of what is merely familiar rather than examine rationally the differences. Truly objective examination may occasionally end in a judgment of better or worse on the basis of some larger value, but will most often show the essential arbitrariness of the differences and demand no judgment of better or worse but simply of the higher appropriateness of one or the other difference to its own language.

Second, the Reaction Rule ( прим. всякая реакция относительна: то, что 'правильно' в родной культуре, может быть 'неправильно' в "чужой" и наоборот ): Every culture shock has an equal and opposite culture shock. This might be rephrased as: In whatever I am offended, I am probably offending my offenders. The simplicity of this rule is disturbed only by the fact that cultural differences of things present are usually more noticeable than cultural differences of things absent. A different gesture is more noticeable than the simple absence of even an expected gesture. Every difference encountered will be noticed as slightly or more painful, but we should be alert to the fact that all differences are potentially painful in both directions.

Third: the Togetherness/Apartness Rule ( прим. автор говорит о коллективистской основе национальной психологии и поведения русских, а также об индивидуалистической основе психологии и поведении англо-говорящих иностранцев ): What Russians do together English, with remarkable frequency, do apart. This basic contrast of togetherness and apartness will be found throughout the cultures from their senses of self and personal naming practices through gestures to the concepts of publicness and privacy and even to their social and economic systems. This togetherness/apartness contrast is probably the clearest theme that runs through the book.

Finally, two cautions. The complexities of NVC prohibit us from reading any gesture in isolation or even in combination with others as always having a certain meaning. Any treatment of NVC that promises you can read a person like a book promises too much. No such promise is made here. NVC cues must be read in their individual settings and against all the other signs present in those settings. And we must be prepared to find some cues meaningless. NVC must always be read as words are: with caution, in context, and with the possibility of their being meaningless.


Leger Brosnahan



1) Russian and English Nonverbal Communication - предисловие
2) Russian and English Nonverbal Communication - фрагмент
3) Russian and English Nonverbal Communication - содержание
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