by Jala Garibova and
For Azerbaijanis, what is left
unsaid can be just as important as what is said. Westerners,
especially Americans who are known for their directness, sometimes
miss these subtleties in Azerbaijani conversation. Talk that
would be considered straightforward, or perhaps honest, in Western
culture may be considered blunt, or even rude, in Azerbaijani
culture. Especially in the context of the business world, this
type of faux pas could be disastrous. To flush out these differences,
our 12th installment of "Sociolinguistically Speaking"
takes a look at the Azerbaijani tendency toward silence and indirectness.