All known languages include within them terms and phrases that describe communicative action specifically and pragmatic action generally. A special subclass of those terms identifies ways of speaking and ways of being silent. This study explores Finnish terms for, and social practices of, quietude (in Finnish, hiljaisuus). Descriptive and interpretive analyses demonstrate a Finnish “natural way of being” (luonteva tapa olla), as when people are undisturbed in their thoughts and actions (omissa oloissaan). Results reveal a Finnish communication code that structures some cultural scenes as occasions for positive silence, exhibiting a social model of personhood for which this is a valued, respected, and natural practice. The study discusses the larger, cross-cultural program of research into communication and personhood of which it is a part.
- Ethnography of Communication,
- Cultural Identity,
- Intercultural Interactions,
- Communication Codes
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/donal_carbaugh/7/