Milton J. Bennett

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication

Physical Description

1 online resource (109 p.)


Communication -- Japan, Communication -- United States




This study attempted to explore one aspect of the communicative styles of Japanese and Americans: their approach to discourse. In a literature review, four distinctive characteristics were surveyed: linear/nonlinear presentation, inductive/ deductive reasoning, explicit/implicit communication, and analytical/emotional statements. The American style of argument was characterized by:

1) a linear presentation as evidenced by its preference for a sequential paragraph development, its reliance on logic, and its direct introduction of the subject.

2) either inductive or deductive reasoning.

3) explicit communication as shown by its emphasis on the use of concrete language, definite qualifiers, clearly stated conclusions and a wider perspective.

4) analytical and objective statements.

The Japanese style of argument is characterized by:

1) its nonsequential presentation, noncontiguous paragraphs, its apparent disregard of logic and indirect introduction of the subject.

2) neither inductive nor deductive reasoning.

3) implicit communication as shown by its emphasis on the use of ambiguous language, the frequent use of conditional qualifiers, implied conclusions and a narrower perspective.

4) emotional and subjective statements.

The literature review corroborated the author's hypotheses that Japanese express themselves in an ambiguous manner, whereas Americans express themselves in a more clearly defined manner. The differences of style of arguments were tested in a statistical setting using content analysis of current newspapers.


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