Silence. Communicative and Cultural Aspect

Maria Poutrova

Abstract


The aim of the article is to present the results of the analysis of silence in verbal communication from purely linguistical perspectives. It studies silent reactions comparing them not so much with verbal responses but creating oppositions between varieties of silent reactions, taken from authentic talking in four cultures: Belarusian, Russian, American and English. Our assumption is that oppositions between various types of silence can provide convincing data against a widely spread belief that silence is always derogative, submissive and referring to power. Studying intentions of unclear silent reactions in private conversations we discovered that they are often nothing but search for pleasure in silence. The recurrent meaning of the reactions is ‘I enjoy your company’, ‘I am happy being together’, ‘I am happy having a rest from the worries of the world’. Silent reactions of this kind are quite polysemantic, their exact meanings can be described with the help of such words as relaxation, pleasure, harmony, quietness. The variety of meanings of only one type of silent reactions makes it possible to claim that silence is a kind of code, used in communicative behavior along with other codes, verbal and nonverbal.

Keywords


harmony; meaning; internationality; code; zero signifier; zero signified; opposition; polysemantics; relaxation; pleasure

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/amcd2014.1341

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