Diane Chardon Clark is the author of this research study. Clark explored the discourse strategies of the Navajo Nation and how these strategies were impacted in interethnic interactions.
Clark used a qualitative analysis method for this study. She conducted informal oral interviews and a questionnaire to conduct her study with an objective to give a voice to members of the Navajo Nation regarding Navajo language maintenance. Interviewees were recruited from four classes at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.
• Overall, EPs utilized by the Navajo students ranged from 0 to 10 seconds, and IPs from 0 to 9 seconds
• Thus, the use of long pauses both within and between utterances is one feature of Navajo discourse.
• Several consultants (42%) utilized external pauses of 4 or more seconds in duration and 42% used IPs of 4 seconds or more
• Level of fluency in Navajo does not influence discourse strategies of Navajo students speaking English
• Navajo speakers may accommodate for Anglo speakers in interethnic communication, while retaining their own discourse strategy of utilizing the long pause
• The average interruption rate for the sample was 18%
Conclusion/Implications on Practice
This study is just the beginning of an analysis on discourse strategies and interethnic communication in the Navajo Nation. Future studies could attempt to study a more representative sample of the Navajo nation and record natural conversations for analysis, specifically Navajo-Navajo conversations. Other interethnic communication studies could also focus entirely on accommodation strategies and aim to document differences is discourse strategies and find remedies for miscommunication in everyday interactions.
Location: This research study can be found online, here.
Chardon Clark, D. (1998-9). Communication between Cultures: Navajo Discourse Strategies in Interethnic Interactions. Intercultural Communication Studies, VIII(1), 13-32.