This work explores the differences in direction-giving strategies between two groups, native Arabic and native English speakers. This study will help influence design decisions for multi-lingual, cross-cultural human robot interaction. There are clear cultural influences on modes of communication. Previous research studies found that direction-giving techniques and strategies vary between different cultural groups. Burhanudeen compared Japanese and English native speakers and found that locator remarks are more frequently used by Japanese natives, while the use of directives is more common with English natives. In this work, we examine the discourse for navigation instructions of members of two target groups, Arabic native speakers and English native speakers. We address the following questions: How do languages and strategies used for providing directions vary between these two groups? What are the differences and what are the similarities? Are there any possible gender-related differences in giving directions? We recorded 56 participants giving oral direction instructions for three specific locations at the Carnegie Mellon Qatar campus, and 33 participants giving oral direction instructions for three different locations at the Student Center. We transcribed the audio recordings and annotated our transcriptions. We categorized the spatial perspectives used by participants into route perspective which involves the use of left/right turns and landmarks, and survey perspective, which involves the use of units (time and distance) and cardinals (north, south, east and west). Our analysis also included number of pauses, repetitions, error corrections, number of words and intermediate details. Our results showed that the way-finding strategy favored by English natives and Arab natives is the landmark-based navigation strategy. However, English natives had a higher frequency of using cardinals, pauses and intermediate information while Arab natives used units of distance, left/right turns and error corrections more frequently than English natives. Male participants from both groups are more likely to rely on survey perspective than female participants. Based on these results, we conclude that culture, language, and gender influence a speakers discourse and strategy for giving directions.


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