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美国人的肢体语言

2006-04-24 14:22

  The boy and girl glance around the crowded room. Their eyes meet. Embarrassed, they look away. Nervously, they steal glances at each other, averting their eyes when they see the other one looking back. The boy acts cool, crossing his legs and affecting a casual air-even though his heart is beating wildly. The girl, obviously smitten herself, is afraid the boy will see her looking at him. A few seconds pass. He looks at her again. She starts to blush. He nervously looks at the ceiling and whistles softly to himself. They continue their cat-and-mouse game for a seemingly inter-minable period of time. Will they ever talk to each other?

  那个男孩和女孩瞥视那拥挤的屋内。他们的视线相遇了。不好意思,又把视线挪开。惴惴不安地,他们互相偷看着,当发现对方也在回望自己时,又转移视线。男孩表现得很酷,交叉着双腿,装着一副漫不经心的样子——虽然他的心正狂野地跳动着;女孩,显然地已坠入情网,很怕男孩看到自己在看他。几秒钟过去了,他再度看她;她的脸红了起来。他紧张地看着天花板,自己轻吹着口哨。他们似乎没完没了地玩着这个猫捉老鼠的游戏。他们到底会不会交谈呢?

  The fact is, they have already communicated a lot, without ever saying anything. Nonverbal elements form a major part of any communication interchange. Some people would say it's the most important part. According to one study, words convey only 7 percent of a person's message. Intonation and voice quality communicate 38 percent, and nonverbal cues transmit a whopping 55 percent. That means people pick up more from nonverbal communication than from the words a person says. When studying about a foreign culture then, it just makes sense to pay attention to how people use nonverbal cues.

  事实上,他们没说一句就已经沟通过了。非语言之要素在任何形式的双向沟通中占了很重要的一部份。有些人会认为那是最重要的一部份。根据一项研究,言语只传达了百分之七的讯息。语调及音色传达了百分之三十八,而非语言的暗示传递了极大的百分之五十五。这就表示了人们从非语言沟通中领悟到的比从说出来的话语中的还多。所以,在研习一个外国文化时,注意人们如何使用非语言暗示是很有道理的。

  Gestures comprise a major form of nonverbal communication. In contrast to sign language, used by deaf people to communicate elaborate messages, gestures function as visual icons which represent a single idea. But often these gestures are embarrassingly culture-bound. For example, when the Maoris of New Zealand stick out their tongue at someone, it is a sign of respect. When American schoolchildren make the same gesture, it means just the opposite. Also, Americans often indicate "OK" with their thumb and forefinger touching to form a circle. The same gesture means "money" to the Japanese, "zero" to the French and a vulgarity to Brazilians. For that reason, people in a foreign culture must use gestures with caution.

  手势是非语言传达中很重要的一环。与聋人用来沟通复杂讯息所使用的手语不同的是,手势的功能就像是视觉上的图像,它代表的是单一的意念。而往往这些手势极受文化限制,甚至造成尴尬的误解。例如,当纽西兰的毛利人对某人伸舌头,这是尊敬的表象。当美国学童作同样的动作时,它表达的意思正好相反。还有,美国人通常用大拇指及食指环绕起一个圆圈表示「没问题」。同样的手势对日本人是「钱」的意思,对法国人是「零」的意思,对巴西人是极低俗的手势。因此,处在外国文化中的人必须小心地使用手势。

  Another cultural aspect of nonverbal communication is one that you might not think about: space. Every person perceives himself to have a sort of invisible shield surrounding his physical body. When someone comes too close, he feels uncomfortable. When he bumps into someone, he feels obligated to apologize. But the size of a person's "comfort zone" varies, depending on his cultural or ethnic origin. For example, in casual conversation, many Americans stand about four feet apart. In other words, they like to keep each other "at arm's length." People in Latin or Arab cultures, in contrast, stand very close to each other, and touch each other often. If someone from one of those cultures stands too close to an American while in conversation, the American may feel uncomfortable and back away.

  另一个非语言沟通的文化层面可能是你不会想到的东西:空间距离。每一个人都会假想在自己身体四周有一种隐形的盾牌。当有人太靠近时,他会觉得不舒服。而当他不小心撞到别人时,他会觉得非道歉不可。但是每个人的「舒服区」的大小各有不同,这与其文化或种族有关。例如,在闲谈时,许多美国人维持着大约四呎远的距离。也就是说,他们喜欢让彼此保持一只手臂的距离。而相反的,拉丁或是阿拉伯文化的人,彼此站得很近,他常互相碰触。假如一个来自于这些文化的人在谈话时站得太靠近美国人,那个美国人会觉得不舒服,而退后一步。

  When Americans are talking, they expect others to respond to what they are saying. To Americans, polite conversationalists empathize by displaying expressions of excitement or disgust, shock or sadness. People with a "poker face," whose emotions are hidden by a deadpan expression, are looked upon with suspicion. Americans also indicate their attentiveness in a conversation by raising their eyebrows, nodding, smiling politely and maintaining good eye contact. Whereas some cultures view direct eye contact as impolite or threatening, Americans see it as a sign of genuineness and honesty. If a person doesn't look you in the eye, Americans might say you should question his motives-or assume that he doesn't like you. Yet with all the concern for eye contact, Americans still consider staring-especially at strangers-to be rude.

  当美国人在谈话时,他们期望别人对其所讲的有所响应。对他们来说,有礼貌的谈话者应该靠着表示出惊喜、讨厌、吃惊或悲哀的表情来与别人心领神会。那种带着一张「扑克脸孔」的人,他的情绪隐藏于毫无表情的面容下,会被别人以怀疑的眼光看待。美国人在谈话中也会以扬眉、点头、有礼貌的微笑以及保持适度的目光接触来表示他们的注意。然而某些文化的人认为直接的凝视是不礼貌而具有威胁感的;美国人认为这是一个真挚诚恳的表征。假如一个人不用正眼看你,美国人可能会觉得,你应该要对他的动机起疑,或者假设他不喜欢你。即使目光接触有其利害关系,美国人也是认为瞪着眼睛看人——特别是对陌生人——是不礼貌的。

  Considering the influence of nonverbal communication, we never really stop communicating. How we walk, how we stand, how we use our hands, how we position our bodies, how we show emotions-all send a message to others. That's why it's possible, as the saying goes, to "read someone like a book." And if you read the person right, as the boy and girl in the crowded room later discovered, it just might turn into a love story.

  想到非语言沟通的影响范围,我们其实从未真的停止沟通过。我们如何走路、站立、如何用双手、如何举手投足、如何表现情绪,都发送出一个讯息。这也就是为什么可以做到像俗语所说的:「看一个人像读一本书一样。」假如你看懂了一个人,就像在那拥挤房间中的男孩及女孩后来发现的一样,也许就会变成一个爱的故事。

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