Just a short post, based on a conversation last night. Do different language groups place different responsibilities on the speaker and listener in a conversation to ensure that any given communication has been understood? In English, if I want to make sure that the other person is following me, I might say 'Understand?', '..if you get me..', '...did you get that?', and so forth. In Turkish, however, you say, 'Anlatabildim mi?', which means 'Have I made myself clear?'
Another feature of Turkish is the tendency to repeat information, especially important information, three times, often in subtly different ways. So what's going on? It seems to me that in English, the responsibility on understanding the message is on the listener, hence the reason why I say the things above. In other words, it's down to the decoder to ensure the successful transmission of a message. In Turkish, however, the responsibility for the successful transmission of the message lies with the speaker, or encoder. This means that, in English, listening is a far more active role: There is an expectation that the message will be understood. In contrast, in Turkish the listener is far more passive. Speaking from experience, I would say that this explains why Turkish language students tend not to hear instructions in class, as well as explaining why they can get so frustrated in conversation - it's because the role they are expected to play is at variance with what they do in L1. When they speak, this tendency to repeat and emphasise comes out, which to the English listener is frustrating: When it happens to me, I want to say ,'Yes, yes, I understand!', which is rather rude in Turkish culture. When the Turkish student listens, the expectation is that all the work of making the message clear lies with the speaker.
This phenomenon possibly also has something to do with the turn-taking periods in the two languages. In English, generally the first person will speak, then the next person will speak afterwards. In Turkish, there is a tendency to overlap, hence possibly the reason why it is necessary to convey information several times.
Now, there may be some research out there into this, but I don't have the time at the moment to look; However, I think I'm on to something. Ideas, anyone?
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