Backchannel Responses in Japanese-English Encounters.

Given that the speaker and the listener belong to different backgrounds, the paper explores the evolving differences that present themselves, in responses across different language, gender, and cultural contexts.

&nbsp.Since communication takes root in feelings and ideas and manifests itself in behavior, the paper reviews existing research literature and examines if backchannel responses, in the intercultural context of English and Japanese encounters, have played any role explicitly or implicitly in improving communication between the two groups. Analyzing cross-cultural interactions, its value addition to intercultural communication is also studied.

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&nbsp.The paper then critically scrutinizes convergence and divergence codes among the two groups and tests it in the background of the communication accommodation theory. Investigating into the speaking skills of the listener, the paper construes, that the non-native listener in a conversation with a native speaker, needs to use verbal and non-verbal backchannel responses, informatively and contextually to avoid misunderstanding brought-about by local and foreign interculturality.

&nbsp.Charles C. Fries, a renowned American lexicographer, and grammarian was one of the first known researchers to reveal backchannel responses in a published work. Later on, the study of backchannel responses was taken up by researchers from a variety of disciplines – communication studies, sociology, linguistics, and psychology.

&nbsp.Since each discipline approached the subject differently, they provided diverse terminologies for the concept of backchannel responses.

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