In conversations between Japanese people speakers often make small interjections to show they are listening. It is said that this is a considerate act. In addition to interjections in the middle of sentences, people add appropriate responses to the end of sentences asking for agreement, such as “~ne,” “~yone,” “~sa” and “~janai.” In these examples of casual situations, ( ) indicates back-channeling. Yesterday (unn) I went to see a movie (ee). It was very amusing (sou). My favorite actor appeared in an important role (aa). That was why I had decided to watch it (unn). The story was great (hee). “Examples of business situations. Honored customer (hai) my humble apologies (hai). Right now, we are packing the products you ordered (hai). It will take some time (sou nann desu ka). Could you please wait for about ten minutes? (ee). Well then, please wait here (wakari mashita). Back-channel feedback has several different meanings. Taking part in the conversation: I’m listening to what you’re saying. Agreement: I think so, too. Affirmation: You’re right. That’s it. Encouragement: Then, what happened? Conveying emotion: I was surprised. Denial: I think you are wrong. In many cases, rather than giving verbal cues to show you are listening, you can nod your head. Overuse of back-channeling can give the impression that you are not listening or that you are mocking the speaker.
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