Indirectness: An Overview

Topics: Logic, Perception, The Conclusion Pages: 2 (565 words) Published: May 20, 2007
Indirectness is not insecurity, for some of us it's the way that we are brought up. We all need to get others to do our things for us done at work. Different people have different ways of accomplishing this, and any individual's ways will vary depending on who is being addressed, be it a boss, a peer, or a subordinate. At one extreme are bald commands, at the other extreme are requests so indirect that they doesn't sound like requests at all, but are just statements of a description of a situation. Some people will find direct commands more appropriate; while other would fine them abrasive. Some would find indirect directives congenial; others would them irritating. People with direct styles of asking others to do things perceive indirect requests as manipulative. Those who feel that indirect orders are illogical or manipulative do not recognize the conventional nature of indirect requests. While it can be the case sometimes, it is not always the case that the one who issued bald commands is a male and the ones that issue indirect commands is female.

Indirectness can be powerful. Speaking indirectly comes across as being polite without having to say "thank you" at the end. The common assumption that asking people to do things indirectly, in a polite way, shows powerlessness and lack of security that flies in the face of this. The use of indirectness can hardly be understood without the cross-cultural perspective. Many Americans find it self-evident that directness is logical and aligned with power whereas indirectness is akin to dishonesty and reflects subservience. But for speakers raised in most of the world's cultures, varieties of indirectness are the norm in communication. This is the pattern found by Japanese sociolinguist Kunihiko Harada.

There is actually a suggestion that men are more indirect than women. However we are all indirect, meaning more than we put into words and deriving meaning from others that they never actually say....
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