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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How do you "listen" for intent online?

One of the things I find hardest about writing in Portuguese is getting the right register or tone. I am so finely tuned to the nuances and subtleties of person-to-person interaction in English, which I can't do in Portuguese. But when you are online, all the ways you have to show your posture or intent is done through written text. And not being able to do that is potentially quite debilitating.

So much of it comes back to negotiating a shared understanding of your intent with the person/people you're talking to. The listener (or reader) has to become a more active participant in your shared meaning-making. So, as a "listener" to someone "speaking" in another language online, how do you listen for cues beyond the written text?

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Blogger Aziz said...

I can relate to what you write here in my experience in Turkey, but on the oral level.
If you don't know enough about the language and culture (I know you don't like this word) it's hard to get the right "register or tone".
For example 90% of the times that I try to say something funny in turkish I end up receiving odd looks.
Talk about "debilitation"! It's not funny not being funny!

3/22/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger bev trayner said...

Yup! You end up being that weirdo estrangeiro ...

3/22/2006 08:25:00 PM  

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