Indirectness in communication

 

There are many researchers that had carried out research on the issues of indirectness in linguistic. The researcher has to admit that her idea is not fresh but she managed to make it ‘new’ by discussing it in the Malay context. However, the research does not portray the whole Malaysian context as the researcher limits her study only on the Malay culture. Even though the Malays are the majority among the whole population of Malaysians, but still the concept of “saving face” includes a person’s physical well being as well public self image (Galyan, 1999), regardless of gender, race or nationality.

Furthermore, the results of her research do not reflect the overall Malay population as the researcher focuses more on the Malay workers and professionals. In addition, the research was conducted based only on her observations without any quantitative and qualitative measurements to support her finding. Therefore, there are no strong justifications for her examples and description. Basically, the article does make sense in a way that the researcher is discussing on issue that is quite reasonable from the social aspect.

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The writer, however, is of the opinion that the issues are not thoroughly discussed as the researcher only provided a few examples to show indirectness in the Malay culture without further explaining the exact reasons and consequences of it. Thus, the audience may be able to get the jist of it but somehow it is not enough to lead the audience into thinking about the issues critically. Indirectness in communication is quite an important issue in human’s life. It is because being honest is one of the hardest things for humans to handle. Some people seem not to be able to say what they mean to avoid looking foolish or sounding stupid.

In the Malay culture, sometimes the show of tolerance and understanding via silence and avoidance of responses are valued more than objective and rational excuses (Maros, 2006). This is where they find that indirectness in interaction is still acceptable and this influences them not to speak what or how they really feel. However, as the writer mentioned earlier, more and more Malays nowadays no longer to follow the so-called rule of speaking in the Malay culture. Generally, this article does have an effect on the audience. It gives them a general knowledge of verbal indirection in communication.

Although the researcher did not really demonstrate the implication of being indirect during interaction, but it does remind the audience that indirectness sometimes can lead to undesirable repercussions (p. 6) where the messages that are conveyed are misunderstood. In conclusion, indirectness is worth to practise but there are times when being direct are necessary to fulfil the purpose of communication.

Reference List Bruti, S. 2006. Cross-cultural Pragmatics: The Translation of Implicit Compliments in Subtitles. The Journal of Specialised Translation, 185-197, University of Pisa, Italy.Retrieved June 25, 2007, from http://www. jostrans. org/issue06/art_bruti. pdf Fi?? lix-Brasdefer, J. Ci?? sar. 2005. Indirectness and Politeness in Mexican Requests. In Selected Proceedings of the 7th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, ed. David Eddington, 66-78. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceeding Project. Retrieved June 29, 2007, from http://www. lingref. com/cpp/hls/7/paper1087. pdf Lailawati Mohd Salleh. 2005. High/low context communication: the Malaysian Malay style. Proceedings of the 2005 Association for business communication annual convention.

Ohio University, Athens (pp. 1-11). Retrieved June 1, 2007 from http://www. businesscommunication. org/conventions/Proceedings/2005/PDFs/09ABC05. pdf Galyan, D. (1999). Speaking the ‘Unspeakable’. Research & Creativity Activity, XXI (3). Retrieved June 29, 2007 from http://www. indiana. edu/~rcapub/v21n3/p10. html Maros, M. (2006). Apologies in English by Adult Malay Speakers: Patterns and Competence. The International Journal of Language, Society and culture. Retrieved June 1, 2007 from http://www. educ. utas. edu. au/users/tle/JOURNAL/ARTICLES/2006/19-2. htm.

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