Journal of Intercultural Communication, Issue 18, Oktober 2008

Linda Viswat & Junko Kobayashi

Cultural Differences in Conversational Strategies -Japanese and American University Students


This paper deals with cultural differences in conversational strategies between Japanese and American university students. Based upon a questionnaire distributed to 106 Japanese students with intermediate English proficiency and 97 American students, the paper examines specific problems caused by the differences in expectations, and identifies several culturally held values. At the same time, it also mentions individual differences in empathic ability, and suggests that people with intercultural or life experiences pass through perceptual changes over time. Then, it explores possible educational programs to help both Japanese and American students become aware of each otherís differing views and make adjustments to their conversational strategies so as to meet the other personís expectations.

Key words: cultural differences, conversational strategies, expectations in conversation, empathic ability, differing views

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