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  • 2019.1.18
  • Essay
  • 中&上級

Eye contact

アイコンタクト

アイコンタクト© Getty Images

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英文を見る

I’ve been to my local supermarket enough times to know pretty much where everything is, when ice cream is on special, and to have favourite checkout operators. They always remember that I don’t need a bag and always look me in the eye with a smile as they hand over my change.

The appropriateness of eye contact varies among cultures. But at its most basic, making eye contact with someone not only acknowledges that you’re listening to them, but that they exist.

In Japan, when I’m with a friend who doesn’t look Asian and they ask a Japanese person a question in Japanese, I pay particular attention to the Japanese person. Most of the time they will look at my friend and reply. Unfortunately, there have been too many times when they ignore my friend and address me instead. This happens most often with people in customer service positions – which is puzzling, seeing as they’re supposed to have advanced people skills. I have actually walked away from conversations to force customer service people to look at the person I’m with and not me. Ignoring someone who asks you a question is rude – it tells them that you think they aren’t important, or that you think they aren’t able to understand the answer.

Eye contact might also help you see when someone is lying. According to some researchers, when a person lies, their brain is forced to work harder, which in turn makes the pupils in their eyes widen.

My first memory of noticing someone’s pupils was when I was 11 years old. Our eccentric drama teacher paired each student up with another student whose name they had only just learned that week. So we all sat cross-legged on the floor, facing our partner. Then we had to talk to each other, asking and answering questions without breaking eye contact.

I looked nervously at my partner. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember her face and her eyes very clearly. We both took a deep breath and started talking to each other. After what felt like an hour, but was probably only 20 seconds, we began to relax and enjoy ourselves, laughing when we realised neither of us had blinked for a while.

While the exercise was stressful at the time, I think it has made all other situations where eye contact is involved much easier.

It’s said that Asian cultures don’t place as much emphasis on eye contact as Western cultures. But in my little local supermarket, the eye contact I get from my favourite checkout operators makes their friendliness seem much more genuine. And – having seen the long lines of customers who seek them out – I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates this small but significant gesture. (Samantha Loong)

重要ボキャブラリーを見る

vary
(動)変わる、変化する
◆When ordering online, please keep in mind that the products shipped might vary from the picture.
(オンラインでの注文は、送られてくる商品が画像とは異なる可能性があることをご留意ください)
☞variation(名)変化、変動

ignore
(動)~を無視する
◆ It’s not polite to ignore people when they’re speaking to you.
(あなたに話しかけている人を無視するのは失礼だ)
☞ignorance(名)無知、無学

rude
(形)不作法な、無礼な
◆rude behavior(不作法なふるまい)
◆ Holly’s manner of speaking was considered rude by many people.
(ホリーの話し方は多くの人から無礼だとみなされていた)

pupil
(名)瞳孔、ひとみ
◆Jim had an eye exam this morning, so his pupils were a little dilated when he got to work.
(ジムは今朝目の検査を受けたので、彼の瞳孔は仕事にとりかかったとき少し開き気味だった)

eccentric
(形)ちょっと変わった、風変わりな
(名)変人、奇人
◆ All of the students in Dr. Brown’s physics class thought of him as an eccentric person.
(ブラウン博士の物理のクラスの生徒全員が、彼のことを変人だと思っていた)

nervously
(副)不安な気持ちで、神経質に、びくびくして
◆ The crowd held their breath nervously as the election results were announced.
(観衆は選挙結果の発表のとき、不安そうに息をひそめた)
☞nervous(形)神経質な、緊張した

emphasis
(名)重要視、強調
◆emphasis on profit(利益重視)
◆ To add emphasis to her presentation, she used a very bright font.
(プレゼンテーションを強調するため、彼女はとても明るいフォントを使った)
☞emphasize(動)重視する、強調する

genuine
(形)本物の、心からの
◆genuine leather(本革)
◆ The performance looked genuine but it was mostly done with special effects.
(そのパフォーマンスは本物に見えたが、ほとんどが特殊効果によるものだった)

significant
(形)重要な、意義深い
◆significant event(重要な出来事)
◆ The collapse of the Roman Empire was a significant moment in the history of Western Civilization.
(ローマ帝国の崩壊は西部文明の歴史において重要な節目だった)

和訳を見る

Listening Comprehension Check

Q1. What does the writer say about eye contact in different cultures?

  • A) It doesn't matter.
  • B) It's all the same.
  • C) It varies.

正解を見る

正解は、C
It varies.

Vocabulary Review Quiz

Q1. The appropriateness of eye contact ( ) among cultures.

  • A) varies
  • B) taries
  • C) ferries

正解を見る

正解は、A
varies

Q2. Unfortunately, there have been too many times when they ( ) my friend and address me instead.

  • A) tour
  • B) ignore
  • C) bore

正解を見る

正解は、B
ignore

Q3. Ignoring someone who asks you a question is ( ) - it tells them that you think they aren’t important, or that you think they aren’t able to understand the answer.

  • A) brood
  • B) food
  • C) rude

正解を見る

正解は、C
rude

Q4. According to some researchers, when a person lies, their brain is forced to work harder, which in turn makes the ( ) in their eyes widen.

  • A) pupils
  • B) pills
  • C) quills

正解を見る

正解は、A
pupils

Q5. Our ( ) drama teacher paired each student up with another student whose name they had only just learned that week.

  • A) toxic
  • B) eccentric
  • C) concentric

正解を見る

正解は、B
eccentric

Q6. I looked ( ) at my partner.

  • A) madly
  • B) baldly
  • C) nervously

正解を見る

正解は、C
nervously

Q7. It’s said that Asian cultures don’t place as much ( ) on eye contact as Western cultures.

  • A) osmosis
  • B) parenthesis
  • C) emphasis

正解を見る

正解は、C
emphasis

Q8. But in my little local supermarket, the eye contact I get from my favourite checkout operators makes their friendliness seem much more ( ).

  • A) lupine
  • B) genuine
  • C) supine

正解を見る

正解は、B
genuine

Q9. And - having seen the long lines of customers who seek them out - I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates this small but ( ) gesture.

  • A) gaudy
  • B) ostentatious
  • C) significant

正解を見る

正解は、C
significant

Speaking practice

Q1. Do you like to make eye contact when speaking? Yes or no? Please explain your answer.※この問題に解答はありません

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