Cultural influence on personal space usage among estonians and Lithuanians Cover Image

Kultuuri mõju eestlaste ja leedulaste ruumikasutusele
Cultural influence on personal space usage among estonians and Lithuanians

Author(s): Rene Altrov
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühing (ERÜ)
Keywords: proxemics; proximity; spatial behaviour; interpersonal distance; personal space; Estonian; Lithuanian

Summary/Abstract: The article is based on a study that examined cultural influences on personal space usage in different communicative situations at home, at work, and spending one’s leisure out of home and office. The aim of the study was to find out the rules governing the use of personal distance among Estonians and Lithuanians, wondering (1) if there could be some differences due to the communicative situation, (2) if there have been any changes in the Estonians’ personal space behaviour, and (3) if any differences could be observed in the usage of personal space by Estonians and Lithuanians. The questionnaire provided situations with four options of behaviour. The response was analysed relying on cultural studies by G. Hofstede and E. T. Hall. The informant groups consisted of ethnic Estonian and ethnic Lithuanian office workers. The Estonian data were gathered on two occasions – in 1998 and 2006, the Lithuanians were questioned in 2006. The results demonstrated that values and preferences may differ depending on the communicative situation and environment: some cultural norms may work in family, some others at work or leisure. The comparison of the Estonian data of 1998 and 2006 reveals that in most cases the personal space behaviour of the Estonians can be associated with certain individualistic and masculine values, but a transition from masculine values to feminine ones can be sensed. As for the Lithuanians, their personal space behaviour is more variegated showing up several opposite values, depending on the situation.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 007-034
  • Page Count: 27
  • Language: Estonian