Intercultural Pragmatics

Published by De Gruyter
Online ISSN: 1613-365X
Print ISSN: 1612-295X
This study aims to examine other-repair in Chinese conversation, focusing on Web-based academic discussion. The data collected were based on naturally occurring written interaction on Web-based discussion boards in teacher education courses offered by the Open University of Hong Kong. From the 1,525 postings by the participants, 351 repair cases were identified for studying how repair is managed and organized. There were 128 (36.5%) cases of self-repair and 223 (63.5%) of other-repair-an outcome which differs from Schegloff et al.'s (1977) conclusion that there is a preference for self-repair, and Levinson's (1983) argument that other-repair is a "rare event," but is in line with some previous findings on Chinese oral conversation. The motivations behind the more frequent use of other-repair in this study are explored by focusing on (a) two aspects which may be interpreted differently in Chinese conversation compared with English conversation-the cultural notions of "face" and "not-yet-competent"-and (b) the availability of "opportunity" for, and the operation of "withholding", in the turn-taking system for repair. It is argued that, due to cultural factors, Chinese tend to do other-repair in this setting either for seeking knowledge or cooperating with the speaker of the trouble source to continue the conversation. Other-repair may constitute a positive contribution rather than being damaging to face; and when "others" have the competence for repair, they tend to initiate and accomplish it immediately. The opportunity for others to initiate repair is used not only to afford trouble speakers a further chance for self-repair but also for other-repair.
This paper examines linguistic politeness in a bilingual society, focusing on forms of address among Estonian speakers and Russian speakers in Estonia. We ask in what ways groups living in different conditions of societal bilingualism acknowledge different norms of politeness and hence exhibit different politeness behavior. Our study focuses especially on the choice of the formal or informal form of the second person pronoun, but we also investigate other aspects of sociolinguistic interaction. The analysis is based on university students' responses to a sociolinguistic questionnaire. Data from both native Estonian speakers in Estonia and native Russian speakers in Russia are compared with data from Russian speakers living in Estonia. We find that where differences are apparent between Estonian and Russian speakers, the Russian diaspora in Estonia falls between both of the majority groups.
This paper proposes a new analysis of indirect speech in the framework of game theory, social psychology, and evolutionary psychology. It builds on the theory of Grice, which tries to ground indirect speech in pure rationality (the demands of efficient communication between two cooperating agents) and on the Politeness Theory of Brown and Levinson, who proposed that people cooperate not just in exchanging data but in saving face (both the speaker’s and the hearer’s). I suggest that these theories need to be supplemented because they assume that people in conversation always cooperate. A reflection on how a pair of talkers may have goals that conflict as well as coincide requires an examination of the game-theoretic logic of plausible denial, both in legal contexts, where people’s words may be held against them, and in everyday life, where the sanctions are social rather than judicial. This in turn requires a theory of the distinct kinds of relationships that make up human social life, a consideration of a new role for common knowledge in the use of indirect speech, and ultimately the paradox of ra- tional ignorance, where we choose not to know something relevant to our interests. Psychology
This paper aims at investigating a recurrent feature of Syrian service encounters which has been brought to the fore through data analysis: in this situation, customers generally do not take as closure-oriented the turns in which shop assistants assert that the request cannot be satisfied (because the product is not available or because the service is not given). On the contrary, in this case, they frequently keep on asking for the same product or the same service, whereas shop assistants keep on repeating that they are unable to comply. Interaction thus unfolds for a while in the form of ‘‘repetitive loopings'' of insistence. Analyzing this interactional activity is the focus of the study. We will examine its sequential structure, the participants' types of contributions and the functions this activity fulfills in the interaction. The first part of the paper will be devoted to presenting our theoretical framework and reviewing previous studies on service encounters, through which the main issues for studying insistence will be discussed. This research on Syrian service encounters is integrated in a research project on service encounters that has been carried out in Lyons, whose aim was to contrast interaction according to shop types and to the culture involved (Kerbrat-Orecchioni & Traverso, forthcoming). It has been developed in the broader framework of a long-term research program on Arabic and French Interaction (Traverso 2006a).
It has long been the contention of various scholars that Brown and Levinson's notion of face, in particular the concept of personal autonomy associated with negative face, is not appropriate for explaining politeness in Japanese. However, there has been little work on what might constitute a suitable alternative. In this paper, it is proposed that the concept of "place,'' which has long occupied an important position in Japanese philosophy and language studies, is fundamental to instances of politeness in Japanese. It is suggested that Japanese politeness involves concern about both the "place one belongs'' (inclusion) and the "place one stands'' (distinction). Examples are then given to show how the concept of place can be useful in understanding politeness phenomena both cross-culturally and interculturally. Yes Yes
The standard model of communication in linguistic pragmatics is founded on the assumption that “successful” communication involves the addressee making inferences about the intentions of the speaker. Miscommunication of implicatures thus presumably arises when the addressee does not correctly infer the speaker's intention. In this paper, however, it is argued that this view of the (mis)communication of implicatures does not adequately account for the manner in which intentions may become the subject of discursive dispute in interaction thereby giving rise to diverging interpretings of implicatures. Drawing from an analysis of the “uncovered meat” comments made by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali and the ensuing controversy over what was implied by them, it is argued that to label such an incident as simply a misunderstanding of the speaker's intentions is misleading. Instead, it is suggested that the way in which Hilali's comments were shifted from a specific audience in the Muslim community to wider Australian society by the media engendered discursive dispute over Hilali's intentions, and thus gave rise to the co-constitution of diverging interpretings of what was implied by Hilali. Building a model of the communication of implicatures must therefore move beyond the received view that it involves “correctly” inferring the intentions of speakers to encompass a broader view where both converging and diverging interpretings of implicatures emerge through their conjoint co-constitution in interaction. Yes Yes
Mandy's performance relative to healthy L2 English speakers.
Julie's performance relative to healthy and COVID control participants.
Normative data for category and letter fluency tasks.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest global health threat in over 100 years. Its impact is seen in large numbers of premature deaths and the loss of economic stability for many millions of people. A significant number of people who contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus – the virus that causes COVID disease – experience symptoms many months after their acute illness. So-called Long COVID is now a recognized condition, with many affected individuals unable to return to work and engage in other daily activities. Among the complex symptoms of this condition is “brain fog”, a constellation of cognitive-linguistic problems that manifest as forgetfulness, word-finding difficulty, a lack of attention and concentration, and problems engaging in conversation. In this paper, I examine two women who had moderate COVID-19 infection during the first wave of the pandemic in Belgium and the UK. Both participants reported cognitive-linguistic difficulties several months after first becoming unwell. The UK participant is a native English speaker while the participant in Belgium speaks English as a second language. Case studies are used to examine their pre-morbid functioning and lifestyle, the onset and course of their COVID illness, and its impact on their language skills. It is argued that Long COVID has the potential to disrupt pragmatic and discourse skills even as structural language skills are intact. As such, this condition requires further systematic study by clinical linguists and speech-language pathologists.
Methods in Intercultural Pragmatics are inherently multifaceted and varied, given discipline’s breaching of numerous cross-disciplinary boundaries. In fact, research in Intercultural Pragmatics represents merely new ways of thinking about language and, thus, of researching interactants’ (non-)verbal behaviors: With core common ground and shared knowledge about conventionalized frames of the target language being limited, intercultural communication features a number of unique characteristics in comparison to L1 communication. This being said, the range of methods employed in data collection and analysis in Intercultural Pragmatics is not only wide, but highly heterogeneous at the same time. The present paper takes a scientometric approach to data collection methods and data types in Intercultural Pragmatics research. In order to provide an extensive diachronic survey of methods and approaches featuring in empirical studies published specifically by the journal Intercultural Pragmatics (edited by Istvan Kecskés), this study includes a self-compiled corpus of 358 papers in 17 volumes published since its launch in 2004 thru 2020. The aim is to carve out diachronic method preferences and emerging as well as declining trends in data collection methods and data types adhered to within this discipline. These are further discussed within the context of relevant state-of-the-art accounts that have specifically offered surveys of methods and methodologies pertaining to issues in data collection and data analysis in (Intercultural) Pragmatics in recent years.
The choice of metaphor used to refer to a particular concept or event can often be linked to the social, economic, political, or even physical environment in which it is used. Commonly used metaphors, for instance, seeing a political campaign in the context of a war, can be extended to a march toward capturing the seat of the government. This dynamic use of metaphors is illustrated aptly in the Asian Economic Crisis from 1997-1999, which was described in Malaysia using metaphors of colonialism, thus reflecting the political ideology of the leadership of the time (Kelly 2001). Added to these dimensions are the cross-cultural differences that manifest themselves through the choice of metaphors used to refer to the same event. Malaysia and Singapore went through the same 2008 economic crisis but internal circumstances produced different reactions from both countries. Differences in the historical traditions and cultures of Malaysia and Singapore may have lead to differences in the types of metaphors that were selected to attain similar rhetorical objectives for the event. Relationships between the two countries, while cordial at most times, still carry uneasy undercurrents since their separation in 1965. This study compares the metaphors used to describe and report the 2008 global economic crisis in major newspapers in Malaysia and Singapore. Using the tools of corpus linguistics, keywords were extracted, then concordanced to identify dominant metaphorical source domains. They were then analyzed using the critical metaphor approach, which looks at how metaphors filter reality to reflect the choices made by writers to present the ideological bias of their texts. In addition, events and issues occurring during the period in question were charted to show that these elements were also instrumental in explaining the choice of particular metaphors in constructing or de-constructing reality.
Xiong (2012) presents a pragmatic as well as a semantic account of the CHI + NON-FOOD NP expression in Chinese, an apparently unconventional yet highly productive construction formed by a most frequently used verb CHI 'eat.' In this paper we take issue with various points of Xiong's analysis, demonstrating that contrary to a number of his claims, (1) the non-canonical construction is not unique to Chinese, but quite common to Southeast Asian languages such as Vietnamese and Thai; (2) it is indeed the case that the more frequently a verb is used, the more likely its meanings are varied; (3) the verb CHI 'eat' is not originally from (kou-) chi 'stammer or stutter' in Old Chinese, i.e., the former does not evolve from the latter, for they are merely homonymous; (4) it does not make much sense to stress the difference in meaning between CHI + SHITANG 'eat dining hall' and CHI SHITANG DE FAN 'eat food in the dining hall,' as the two constructions do share the basic meaning of 'have meals in the dining hall,' as evidenced by the corpus data; (5) the formation of CHI SHITANG should be motivated by the principle of economy and the rule of analogy, rather than otherwise.
One recent trend in metaphor studies is to deny the possibility that most verbal metaphors really convey metaphoric meanings via cross-domain mappings. Instead, only a small number of verbal metaphors, those presumably produced "deliberately" and "consciously," ever alert listeners or readers to draw cross-domain inferences. Xu, Zhang, and Wu (2016. Enlarging the scope of metaphor studies. Intercultural Pragmatics 13. 439-447) describe several ways in which this "deliberate metaphor theory" may extend contemporary metaphor research. Our reply notes that this perspective is completely contradicted by cognitive linguistic and cognitive science empirical findings, and, ironically, ignores both communication and consciousness in its efforts to provide a new, improved theory of metaphor. We argue that the new alternative is a regressive attempt to take metaphor studies back to the stone ages of scholarship in which only certain verbal metaphors really reflect true metaphoric thinking.
In recent years, the specter of populism has grown increasingly restless in the Western world and beyond. This new populism has been observed in different political movements in Europe; the Brexit movement in the UK, Podemos and Vox in Spain, Rassemblement National in France, Partij voor de Vrijheid in the Netherlands, and Viktor Orbán’s illiberal democracy in Hungary. Inevitably, it is most commonly associated with the election of Donald Trump as president of the USA in 2016. In this paper, a pragmatic interaction theory of metaphorical utterances is applied to a corpus of speeches given by candidates during the American 2016 presidential elections. First, speeches and candidates were graded for populism according to a holistic grading method. Secondly, speeches were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate if and how active metaphorical language was used to construct the populist frame. The findings suggest that active metaphors can be useful for politicians who wish to counter the dominant conventional frames, and so can serve the ideological purposes of populists and non-populists alike. Therefore, this paper also argues that novel metaphorical concepts and active metaphorical utterances make important contributions to the communication of ideologies in political discourse and should not be overlooked by analysts.
Pragmatic communication refers to the ability to use language and other expressive means, i.e. non-verbal/extralinguistic means such as gestures and facial expressions, in order to convey and interpret meaning in a specific context. Pragmatic abilities are important in everyday life in interpersonal interactions as they affect the way people communicate and behave in social situations. Providing a comprehensive and accurate assessment of pragmatic abilities can be challenging, partially due to the scarcity of valid assessment tools in this area. Culture-related aspects of communication need to be taken into consideration, and the assessment tools need to be specific and sensitive for specific cultural contexts. In this paper, we present the results concerning the administration of the first preliminary translation and adaptation into the Finnish language of the equivalent form A of the Italian Assessment Battery for Communication (ABaCo) to a sample of neurotypical Finnish adults (n = 36); we discuss the results, highlighting cultural features and the consequent adaptation requirements. Data regarding performance on each subscale and on each item of the ABaCo are provided, together with a qualitative analysis of the answers. These data indicate good performance on the majority of the subscales used, thus indicating good properties of the preliminary Finnish version of the ABaCo. Compared to the paralinguistic and context scales, where the participants exhibited good performance, slightly lower scores were obtained on the extralinguistic scale. Such results shed light on a number of differences in the way Finnish people interpret pragmatically challenging communicative situations. The present study represents an interesting starting point for further steps in the specific ABaCo adaptation process, as well as for future studies in terms of cross-cultural investigation.
This is an initial exploratory study of how study-abroad learners influence each other’s pragmatic development in naturalistic settings. It focuses on a cohort of 12 Australian learners of Indonesian during a short summer course and uses a multimethod approach, including a pretest/posttest instrument, diary entries, and regular interviews. Findings revealed a variety of influences on each other’s development. Learners noticed pragmatic features in talk produced by fellow learners that was addressed to native speakers of the target language. They also sometimes noticed features in talk by native speakers that was addressed to their fellow learners, or in talk between fellow learners. They reflected on the relevant features and often modified their knowledge about them. The learners also talked with each other about the pragmatics of the L2 in various ways, such as through explicit discussion, correction of each other’s performance, or the telling of personal anecdotes. That talk too prompted the learners to reflect on pragmatic features and modify their knowledge about them. The learners also planned complex pragmatic action together and performed it together, which can affect pragmatic development in myriad ways. To sum up, the study changes our perceptions of how learners learn pragmatics during study abroad by showing how time spent with fellow learners can stimulate that learning.
This study examines pragmatic acquisition of requests for English-speaking learners of Spanish. This research expands upon previous work by investigating the acquisition of second language requests during a short-term immersion program (6 weeks) in Madrid, Spain and in three situational contexts: food and drink, general merchandise, and familial. Data were collected using an experimental computerized oral discourse completion task. Requests made by learners (501 requests) and native speakers (224 requests) were compared considering personal deictic orientation and directness of the requests. For learners, shifts from speaker-oriented to hearer-oriented requests indicated greater pragmatic development in food and drink and familial contexts. Results are discussed considering pragmatic developmental stages and differential results in the three contexts.
This paper wishes to challenge the proposition that the word "rights" is a universal and innate concept in human societies. It provides an analysis of the absence and presence of the word "rights" in the Chinese language and culture in traditional and contemporary China. It presents a linguistic and cultural explanation for the fact that classical Chinese language and culture did not have an equivalent word or concept for the English word "rights." After the word and concept of "rights" were introduced to China from the West in the second half of the nineteenth century, the new word quanli (rights) has since taken on Chinese shades of meaning, not entirely the same as its English counterpart. The paper proposes that the claim of the universal and innate nature of the word "rights" is not tenable.
This paper discusses an advanced language assessment tool designed to assess university students' linguistic competence in L2. The tool serves the final exam of a course offered to second-year students of English language and literature. Of the three parts of the exam, (1) reading, (2) language awareness, and (3) writing, the third part (language awareness) explicitly addresses students' pragmatic competence. In the light of our work, assessing students' pragmatic competence is shown to involve the identification of certain levels of competence ensuing from the interpretive routes learners follow in their attempt to (a) interpret the communicator's intention, (b) identify the linguistic devices that lead them to this interpretation, and (c) explicitly verbalize the link between linguistic devices and interpretation. The suggested ranking of levels draws on data from statistical analysis of 190 final exam scripts. The proposed assessment of pragmatic competence manifested when dealing with written discourse is considered to be an innovative testing tool, because it is a discourse -based approach to testing pragmatic competence, where both explicit and implicit meanings are retrieved by drawing on a naturally-occurring wide range of lexical and grammatical features . More importantly, the proposed assessment constitutes an accurate testing tool because it allows for levels of pragmatic, hence linguistic, competence to naturally unveil in an authentic reading context requesting the reader's spontaneous reaction and contribution to the process of meaning making in L2.
Quantitative and qualitative modifiers Modifier Evidence Quantitative Qualitative 
Stance markers 
Modal verbs Left context [appear / seem / can / may / must] right context 
This paper examines the distribution, patterned co-occurrences and function of the sensory perception verbs appear and seem and the three English modal auxiliaries can, may and must in the context of written academic discourse, concentrating on their contribution to the expression of evidentiality and epistemic modality. It is based on the premise that epistemic modality and evidentiality are different: the former refers to a category in which some hypothetical state of affairs is indexed and evaluated; the latter refers to a visual, sensorial, hearsay or inferential mode of knowing. The methodological framework is an integrated one, combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies to filter out discourse patterns which may contribute to the fore- and backgrounding of evidential meaning. Patterned co-occurrences of nevertheless and thus with appear and seem and can, may and must are assigned the status of a salient discourse pattern in and through which evidential meaning is foregrounded.
This article analyzes intercultural academic discourse in an international research project involving German and Southern African scholars, with an eye on the use of figurative language in authentic communication. It combines intercultural pragmatics with a cognitive approach to figurative language as an expression of conceptual, cognitive patterns. This paper intends to show how international academics involved in intercultural communication actively and creatively apply metaphoric and other forms of figurative language to co-construct and conceptualize academic subject matter in transculturally understandable forms, and to forge a group identity in what has been called a “discursive interculture.” The quality and communicative success of figurative language for such purposes depends on various factors, for which both pragmatic and cognitive linguistic perspectives provide explanations, which is why an interdisciplinary integration of methods is advisable.
This article analyzes authentic negotiation encounters between a Danish buyer and several predominantly Chinese sellers at a jewelry fair in China. Three recurring themes were identified in the data: different negotiation styles (a preference for an indirect mitigated style in the Chinese negotiators as opposed to a preference for a direct unmitigated approach in the Western negotiator), linguistic accommodation, and small talk about the interlocutor's place of residence, which is interpreted as strategic communication in which negotiators are allowed to check the interlocutor's financial viability without loss of face. The article acknowledges that claims about the importance of negotiators' cultural backgrounds need to be demonstrated rather than presumed, but it also argues that an analysis of predominant Chinese cultural value systems (such as face and the guanxi-concept) is likely to lead to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Sino-Western negotiations. The article advocates a combination of in-depth discourse analysis and studies of micro- as well as macro-contextual value and norms - i.e., a truly pragmatic approach to cross-cultural encounters - as the way forward in the study of business negotiations.
Dominant accounts of “speaker meaning” in post-Gricean contextualist pragmatics tend to focus on single utterances, making the theoretical assumption that the object of pragmatic analysis is restricted to cases where speakers and hearers agree on utterance meanings, leaving instances of misunderstandings out of their scope. However, we know that divergences in understandings between interlocutors do often arise, and that when they do, speakers can engage in a local process of meaning negotiation. In this paper, we take insights from interactional pragmatics to offer an empirically informed view on speaker meaning that incorporates both speakers’ and hearers’ perspectives, alongside a formalization of how to model speaker meanings in such a way that we can account for both understandings – the canonical cases – and misunderstandings, but critically, also the process of interactionally negotiating meanings between interlocutors. We highlight that utterance-level theories of meaning provide only a partial representation of speaker meaning as it is understood in interaction, and show that inferences about a given utterance at any given time are formally connected to prior and future inferences of participants. Our proposed model thus provides a more fine-grained account of how speakers converge on speaker meanings in real time, showing how such meanings are often subject to a joint endeavor of complex inferential work.
The verb CHI ((sic) 'eat') can virtually be used with any NP in Chinese. Previous studies on this issue basically depend on metonymy theories or construction theories for solution but they are partial and hence cannot explicate many related phenomena such as the abstract nature of CHI SHITANG ('eat dining-hall') novelty of CHI YUELIANG ('eat the noon), etc. To supplement, this paper adopts a cultural pragmatic approach to the CHI+NP phenomena and focuses on ABSTRACT EATING as one of the extended senses (acronymically expressed as ET senses throughout this paper) from the core meaning (i.e., into the mouth and down the stomach) of CHI and the contextually expendable senses (acronymically expressed as CT senses throughout this paper). The CT sense of CHI in the CHI+NP expressions is basically EXCESSIVELY ENGAGING-IN that evolves from DEPENDENCY sense as the ET2 use (i.e., the second extended sense of CHI). To account for ET1 and CT this paper argues that the ET1 use of CHI as in CHI SHITANG conveys some notion of abstractness and the CT use of CHI actually derives from the ET2 sense. It is the ET2 use that makes the verb CHI virtually sense-adjustable to any following NP so long as a justifying context is available. A further scrutiny into the phenomenon would reveal that the CT use of CHI in the CHI+NP expressions is sanctioned by the Chinese culture of eating and is hence a typical Chinese phenomenon. Therefore, a cultural-pragmatic account is given in this paper to analyze the motivation for the plethora of senses of CHI tinted with pertinent contextualizable flavors.
We intuitively make a distinction between lying and misleading . As several philosophers have pointed out, on the account of this distinction favored here – the adverbial account, as I’ll call it – it provides evidence on the theoretical notion of what is said and the related theoretical distinction between semantics and pragmatics. For, on that account, the distinction tracks whether or not the content and the assertoric force with which it is presented are semantically conveyed. On an alternative (assertoric) commitment account, the difference between lying and misleading is predicated instead on the strength of assertoric commitment. One lies when one presents with full assertoric commitment what one believes to be false; one merely misleads when one presents it with short-of-full assertoric commitment, by merely hinting or otherwise implying it. Here I’ll present the debate confronting the two accounts, and I’ll provide support for the adverbial account and its methodological application.
Metonymy is a pervasive aspect of spontaneous as well as reflective linguistic performance and its cognitive and communicative role needs to be adequately attended to. The paper aims to offer a new model of metonymy grounded in the relevance-theoretic approach to communication, adopting the view that all comprehension is underlain by inferential processes. First, we present a critical overview of selected existing accounts of metonymy put forward by cognitive linguists, arguing that although they offer valuable observations about the role of metonymy in online meaning construction and bring to light a varied spectrum of different types of metonymic conceptualizations, cognitive linguistic analyses fall some way short of offering a convincing rationale for metonymic uses in verbal communication and do not articulate a psychologically plausible and testable principle that would explain why metonymy arises and how the intended meaning is inferred in context by the recipient. We also critically address the existing relevance-theoretic models, which, while offering a cognitively motivated account of metonymy, likewise suffer from certain inadequacies. In an attempt to remedy these shortcomings, we develop a fully inferential relevance-theoretic account, which assumes that metonymy is a case of tagging the intended referent by a concept literally denoted by the metonymic expression. The real-world contiguity which underlies metonymic usage is postulated to be encapsulated in mental schemas that are indexed by the concept that the metonymic word or phrase provides access to.
They are a good deal more than amusing (or embarrassing) errors of speech. The collection and analysis of such errors provides important clues to how speech is organized in the nervous system. Victoria A. Fromkin (1973: 110)Also, most current linguistics fails to consider various kinds of anomalous data which actually reveal very important information about the structure of the mental system which underlies our linguistic abilities, including slips of the tongue and unintentional puns. Sydney M. Lamb (1999: 9) Abstract The socio-cognitive approach to pragmatics [SCA] is based on two fundamental hypotheses: (1) speaker and hearer are equal participants in the communicative process, (2) communication is the result of the interplay of intention and attention, as this interplay is motivated by the individuals’ private socio-cultural backgrounds. In this paper, I aim at showing that relational network theory (which has been mainly developed by the American neurolinguist Sydney M. Lamb) allow us to account not only for aspects corresponding to intention or attention, but also for “smooth communication” and “bumpy communication” (being the latter the dimension which includes unintended meanings). Four actual slips of the tongue will be relevant examples thanks to which it can be recognized how cooperation and intention are in a highly complex interaction together with the substantial elements of the individual traits: attention, private experience, egocentrism, and salience. Within this context, the relational account is epistemologically crucial. Firstly, it allows us to represent the neurocognitive structures that enable a person to produce or understand utterances. Secondly, it helps us to suggest that canonical pragmatics (like Speech Acts Theory, Gricean Pragmatics, Relevance Theory) cannot even consider actual and relevant phenomena like slips of the tongue, because they focus on cooperative intention and they neglect (or discard) egocentric attention.
This paper sets up to show how accountability for communicative action is constructed in online journalism as an object of talk, comparing British English and Israeli Hebrew discourse communities. The analysis utilizes a discourse-pragmatic frame of reference supplemented by cognitive semantics and corpus-assisted tools. The discussion draws on data collected from the websites of The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph , Ha’aretz and Ynet . Focusing on self- and other-positioning of commenters and columnists as citizens , we explore how the accountability of the elite for communicative action and the accountability of their actions to citizens are discursively constructed by ordinary persons (in their role as commenters) and by non-ordinary persons (in their role as columnists, including journalists, experts and authors). The analysis indicates conceptual similarities coupled with discursive differences between the discourse communities under study.
Peter Hanks and Scott Soames have developed a theory of propositions as structured cognitive event types, as have I in earlier works. They use the theory to offer similar accounts of transparent propositional relation reports, and very different accounts of opaque reports. For both, the sentences used to report propositional attitudes or speech acts are semantically unambiguous. Hanks invokes context-sensitivity, Soames pragmatics, to account for the different interpretations. I raise problems and offer solutions. Their accounts succumb to the non-compositionality of transparent reports, and wrongly predict that all propositional relation reports have both transparent and opaque interpretations. Soames’s pragmatic enrichment account of the opaque interpretation is unfounded, and forces him to conclude that competent speakers do not know what the sentences they use mean. The notion of an “object-dependent” or “bare” proposition is both problematic and unnecessary. I offer a new account, on which propositional relation reports have the semantic ambiguity characteristic of idioms, with the transparent interpretation being highly but not completely compositional.
The extent to which context, including pragmatic processes, plays a role in understanding the meaning of words has been long debated by scholars working at the interface of pragmatics and semantics. In this paper, we consider how the meanings of bogan, lawyer and teacher are interactionally accomplished in everyday encounters amongst Australian speakers of English. Building on methodological and theoretical insights from interactional pragmatics, the dynamic model of meaning, and dialogic syntax, we propose that locally situated, occasion-specific meanings of terms such as, bogan, lawyer and teacher, may be achieved with respect to contingently-relevant trajectories of social action(s) in sequences of talk, but that participants draw from recurrent sequential practices for doing so. We analyze how speakers generate dialogic resonance through the use of recurrent syntactic frames to co-construct locally situated semantic fields encompassing different words and predicates in-situ, and how these are underpinned by common interactional process that facilitate the negotiation of locally-situated meanings. We suggest that these locally-situated meanings draw from, and so are systematically afforded and constrained by aspects of abstracted lexical meanings to varying degrees, but that participants nevertheless are able to shape the meanings of those words for locally-situated purposes. In sum, we propose that what a word is taken to mean in locally situated interactions is invariably interwoven with the recurrent practices for framing those word meanings across turns of talk.
Communication depends on cooperation in at least the following way: In order to be successful, communicative behavior needs to be adjusted to the general world knowledge, abilities, and interests of the hearer, and the hearer's success in figuring out the message and responding to it needs to be informed by assumptions about the communicator's informative intentions, personal goals, and communicative abilities. In other words, interlocutors cooperate by coordinating their actions in order to fulfill their communicative intentions. This minimal assumption about cooperativeness must in one way or another be built into the foundations of any plausible inferential model of human communication. However, the communication process is also influenced to a greater or lesser extent, whether intentionally and consciously or unintentionally and unconsciously, by the participants' orientation toward, or preoccupation with, their own concerns, so their behavior may easily fall short of being as cooperative as is required for achieving successful communication.In this paper, we consider in some detail a critical incident from a meeting that took place at the beginning of an intercultural project partnership, and we argue that such communication situations are “fragile” in that they can put pressure on the participants to be more self-oriented (i.e., self centered) and, therefore, less cooperative. We explore the reasons for this and propose that affective factors including face play a key role. We end by considering the theoretical implications of our study for future research.
This study investigates the contribution of proficiency, length of stay, and intensity of interaction to the recognition and use of conventional expressions in L2 pragmatics by host-environment learners of English. An aural recognition task and an oral production task targeting conventional expressions were completed by 122 learners and 49 native speakers of American English via two computer-delivered tasks: The aural recognition task consisted of 60 conventional and modified expressions, and the oral production task consisted of 32 scenarios pretested to yield conventional expressions (Bardovi-Harlig 2009). Proficiency was determined by scores on a 3.5-hour, four-part placement exam, yielding four low-intermediate to low-advanced levels. Length of stay in the host environment was measured in months. Intensity of interaction was measured by self-report of weekly English language use outside class with native speakers, daily use with other learners, and television viewing. A repeated measures logistic regression model showed significant influence of intensity of interaction on recognition of conventional expressions. A separate repeated measures logistic regression model showed that both proficiency and intensity of interaction have a significant influence in the production of conventional expressions. Length of stay did not have a significant effect on either recognition or production.
This article argues for frequent targeted teaching of relational language use or (im)politeness in the L2 classroom. The approach presented here draws on authentic data in the target language and in the language of instruction, which are readily available online. It encourages the learner to make use of their multilingual resources and is exploratory in nature, allowing for a deep engagement with (im)politeness, viz., an extensive array of semiotic features invested in the co-construction of social relations in every social interaction. Working at the interface of (im)politeness studies, intercultural pragmatics, interlanguage pragmatics, and language pedagogy, and undertaken from the perspective of interpersonal pragmatics and relational work, the qualitative analysis focuses on the collaborative work products from participatory learning activities of intermediate to advanced learners of German at a large North-American university. Results show the learners’ raised awareness and broadened knowledge. In particular, learners became aware that what is judged as (im)polite is dependent on the relationship of the interactants, the gender of the interactants, the sociocultural background, norms, values, and believes of the interactants, the context of the interaction, the affiliations of the evaluator, the sociocultural background, norms, values, and believes of the evaluator, etc. Results also suggest that some of the learners need to develop their pragmalinguistic skills further to fully participate in the evaluation of pragmatically rich target language discourse. Additional studies are needed to explore the impact on the learners’ interactional competence.
The first receptions of the Speech Act Theory (SAT) featuring women emerged on anthropological grounds. Ruth Finnegan paves the way with the first ethnographic research based on Austinian categories, opening the reflection to problems derived from the empirical observation of ordinary language. Since then, the need to take into account the linguistic experience from its cultural varieties has given rise to theoretical variations. In this text, I propose to review three pioneering studies (Finnegan, Rosaldo and Ochs) that, from cultural anthropology, have questioned the theoretical contributions of the three highest philosophical representatives of SAT (Austin, Searle and Grice). My objective will be twofold. On the one hand, to present these works under the common lens of a critique capable of bringing to light the infelicities that arose thanks to intercultural translation, and, on the other, to interpret them as a good expansion of the range of infelicities that Austin lists as those that doing things with speech could suffer from. The conclusion is the cultural validation, as well as the broadening, of the classic notion of “total speech act”, at the same time that the recognition of interdisciplinary dialog and the contribution of women to SAT come into play.
Pragmatic space of 'apologies' and 'thanks' in Japanese.
Pragmatic space of 'apologies' and 'thanks' in English.
Despite speech act theory being very influential in pragmatics, the notion of what constitutes a speech act in languages other than English has not received the attention it deserves in the literature. After a brief outline of traditional speech act theory, this paper problematizes the use of English speech act labels by comparing English and Japanese conceptualizations of ‘apologies’ and ‘thanks’. The notion of indebtedness and the norm of reciprocity are then discussed, arguing that they can help revealing similarities between ‘apologies’ and ‘thanks’ in Japanese that are not observed in English. The second part of the paper is empirical in nature and adopts a corpus-assisted approach. The Japanese expression su ( m ) imasen [sorry], usually signaled as apologetic, is used as key word in two web corpora of written Japanese for retrieving metapragmatic comments and naturally occurring exchanges where su ( m ) imasen is framed as an expression of gratitude – a function English apologies do not serve. Finally, the paper proposes the notion of pragmatic space to investigate ‘apologies’ and ‘thanks’ as neighboring speech acts that overlap to different degrees and present different prototypical features in Japanese and English. The analysis reveals that the acritical use of English speech act labels is not suitable for describing ‘apologies’ and ‘thanks’ in Japanese.
The present paper develops the concept of discourse within Austin’s original speech act theory as laid out in Austin, J. L., [1962]1975 How to do things with words. Oxford: Oxford University Press, and provides a model to explain illocutionary acts in discourse. In uttering something, a speaker performs an illocutionary act and imports its conventional effect into the discourse, in which the next speaker (the hearer in the preceding turn) performs an illocutionary act and brings about its effect, and the sequenced effects develop the discourse. Both the content of an utterance imported into the discourse as the illocutionary effect and the discursive sequence that the utterance creates are sensitive to the illocutionary-act-type that it performs. Quotation is examined from this perspective, and it is claimed that a speaker indicates a locution by means of quotation marks while performing an illocutionary act. The speaker (i) performs an illocutionary act pertaining to the locution, (ii) reports an illocutionary (or perlocutionary) act in another discourse by means of the locution by which the act was performed (or a part of it), or (iii) indicates a part of the locution of the present utterance, and thus signals a special sense or referent, or importance. Depending on the type of illocutionary act, the quoted material is imported into the discourse in a specific way.
While greetings are performed in all cultures and open most conversations, previous studies suggest that there are cross-cultural differences between different languages in greeting behavior. But do speakers of different national varieties of the same language organize and perform their greeting behavior in similar ways? In this study, we investigate the sequential organization of greetings in relation to gaze behavior in the two national varieties of Swedish: Sweden Swedish spoken in Sweden and Finland Swedish spoken in Finland. In recent years, the importance of studying pluricentric languages from a pragmatic perspective has been foregrounded, not least within the framework of variational pragmatics. To date, most studies have focused on structural differences between national varieties of pluricentric languages. With this study, we extend the scope of variational pragmatics through adding an interactional, micro perspective to the broader macro analysis typical of this field. For this study, we have analyzed patterns for greetings in 297 video-recorded service encounters, where staff and customers interact at theatre box offices and event booking venues in Sweden and Finland. The study shows that there are similarities and differences in greeting behavior between varieties. There is a strong preference for exchanging reciprocal verbal greetings, one at a time, in both. There is also a similar organization of the greeting sequence, where customer and staff establish mutual gaze prior to the verbal greetings, thus signaling availability for interaction. The duration of mutual gaze and the timing of the greeting, however, differ between the two varieties. We have also conducted a multi modal analysis of gaze behavior in correlation to the greeting. We found that the customers and staff in the Finland Swedish data share mutual gaze before and during the verbal greeting, and often avert gaze after the verbal greetings. However, in the Sweden Swedish data, the participants often avert gaze before the verbal greetings. Our results thus indicate that both similarities and differences in pragmatic routines and bodily behavior exist between the two national varieties of Swedish. The present study on greeting practices in Finland Swedish and Sweden Swedish should contribute to the field of variational pragmatics and to the development of pluricentric theory.
This paper is an example of how contextual information interacts with the interpretation of noun phrases (NPs) in discourse. When we encounter an NP escorted by the definite article or a proper name, the expectation is triggered that the speaker is referring to some referent x that the hearer can normally identify. Strawson and Russell have agreed that a referent must be associated with a definite description so that the assertion containing it can be said to be true. In the case where a description does not refer to anything, the assertion is considered by Russell to be false, while Strawson says that the issue of truth or falsity does not arise. In this paper, we examine a case in which contextual information interacts with the interpretation of NPs in discourse and the hearer is not expected to identify a referent when hearing a proper name. In this case, the issue of truth or falsity does not arise, because the hearer does not identify the referent. In fact, s/he does not intend for the discourse to about a referent at all. These situations are primarily represented by sentences uttered during the course of a grammar lecture, in which the lecturer is explaining a rule of language and does not focus on external reality. The hearers are aware of this focus and do not process the NP (in general a proper name) to identify a specific referent. This discourse is of three types, which will be discussed at the end of this paper.
This paper presents the results of a study seeking insights into how speakers express oppositional stance in an online genre (businesses’ responses to negative customer reviews on TripAdvisor). The research is contrastive, exploring the differences between the practices of speakers in two types of setting – L1 English-speaking countries and countries where English is L2 – when performing oppositional speech acts (e.g. disagreement, criticism of the review/reviewer, etc.). Although there exists a large body of work concerned with contrastive differences in speech act realizations, oppositional speech acts remain under-researched – especially in contexts of non-politeness or impoliteness. This paper presents the results of a mixed-method qualitative/quantitative analysis revealing substantial differences along two principal dimensions of variation: the (in)directness with which opposition is expressed, and the downgrading (mitigation) or upgrading (aggravation) of oppositional speech acts. Some of these differences can be traced to well-known tendencies related to L1 versus L2 language use, while others represent new empirical findings that open up potential avenues for future research.
Top-cited authors
Sirpa Leppänen
  • University of Jyväskylä
Jan Blommaert
  • Tilburg University
Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano
  • University of Zaragoza
Jagdish Kaur
  • University of Malaya
Anthony J. Liddicoat
  • The University of Warwick