(1) See e.g. Street / Brady / Putman (1983)

(2) This qualification seems necessary since, as Scollon (1985) points out, the process of making attributions in interpersonal interactions itself might well be a culture-specific phenomenon. From his research he concludes that Athabaskan Indians are socialized not to make personal attributions as a consequence of a general cognitive and interactive strategy of non-intervention, cf. Scollon / Scollon (1979)

(3) See e.g. Basso (1970, 1979), Scollon / Scollon (1981), Saville-Troike (1982), Gumperz (1982), Tannen (1984), Tannen / Saville-Troike (1985), Enninger (1987)

(4) See e.g. Wang (1977)

(5) See e.g. Barnlund (1989)

(6) This is particularly evident from a publication like Jaworski (1997), which aims at collecting contributions that mirror possible uses of "silence" as a metaphor in the most diverse fields of language, literature, the arts and other areas of human expression. Though it might be interesting in itself to see to what range of phenomena the metaphorical label of "silence" can be applied, it is evident that from this pretheoretical generalistic perspective "silence" as an analytical category is hard to delimit - if at all.

(7) The following attempt at introducing some descriptive categories is also due to a certain dissatisfaction with the etic grid of categories suggested by Saville-Troike (1985: 16-17) as an orientation for cross-cultural comparisons. Although this grid is interesting by itself, it does not seem to clarify much, since Saville-Troike treats all kinds of non-talk here as silences, from non-talk necessitated by the environment ( a library), or the non-right to take turns in committee meetings without being called upon, to non-interactive inactivity. Part of this dissatisfaction is also due to the fact that the English word "silence" is used indiscriminately by Saville-Troike where in German notions like "Stille" or "Ruhe" would be preferred over "Schweigen", thus blurring distinctions that are immediately available to a speaker of German. To compare the distribution of the English translation equivalents to these German notions could also be an interesting task for research.

(8) I do not consider here rhetorical pauses, which above all have the stylistic function of emphasizing particular sense units in utterances, because they represent conscious choices of a speaker to achieve a particular effect on the hearers. Such pauses are task-specific, indicating differences in speaking styles as e.g. between using vernacular and reading wordlists.

(9) For a comparable tendency to use longer turns - which in the ears of other cultures may appear as monologues - see Scollon / Scollon (1981: 26) with examples from Athabaskan. Lehtonen / Sajavaara (1997), however, caution that this behavior of Finns may be restricted to particular, mostly formal, speech events.

(10) See e.g. Duncan (1974), Goodwin (1981)

(11) See Nakane (1979)

(12) Personal communication at the Conference on Silence in Communication and the Arts at the Finland-Institute, Berlin, May 1996. From her example it is not entirely clear whether this form of greeting also holds for interactions among strangers. If this example describes a convention valid only in contact among relatives, friends or neighbours, this might also be case of disengagement.

(13) At least according to Carbaugh (1995), Finns refrain from small talk as far as possible, because to them speaking is a commitment to be taken seriously and what one says should be socially worthwile. Salo-Lee (1998) labels the tendency of Finns to temporarily withdraw from social interaction as "social silence" and maintains that it is above all this little inclination for talk - as I would prefer to call it - that causes intercultural misunderstandings or rather, negative attributions like coldness, selfishness or disinterest in social contact.

(14) See e.g. Giles (1977), Giles / Mulac / Bradac / Johnson (1987)

(15) It should be noted here that treating the lack of backchannelling as a "hearer silence" points to a conceptual problem usually overlooked by proponents of a merely metaphorical use of "silence", i.e. the question as to whether the communicative function of non-vocal manifestations of silence can also be transported by non-verbal signs. In many cases, the occurrence of silence as defined in this paper is accompanied by gestures, facial expressions or other situational features that cue the illocution which is also expressed non-vocally. If one accepts that illocutions can be expressed by such cues, it is difficult to talk of silence in cases where non-verbal cues to the illocution are present - at least unless one comes up with a clearcut, restrictive definition of "silence", as is attempted in this paper.

(16) This has been demonstrated in particular by the Kassel-Project ( cf. e.g. the articles in Dechert / Möhle / Raupach 1984 )

(17) One possible way of reducing the risks of misinterpretation of a delay by the previous speaker would be to encourage learners to use above all filled pauses like "erm", "well" etc. when hesitating.

(18) The terms "bystander" and "participant" are used here in the sense introduced by Goffman (1981)

(19) See e.g. the contributions in Wolfgang (1979), or Poyatos (1985)

(20) See e.g. Knapp / Knapp-Potthoff (1987)

© Karlfried Knapp
Institut f. Anglistik/Amerikanistik
PH Erfurt
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Letzte Änderung: 11.03.99
Gestaltung: E. Schramm