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Negotiating with the Boss: An inter- and cross-cultural perspective on problematic talk
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3235-8560
2018 (English)In: The Pragmatics of Sensitive Activities in Institutional Discourse / [ed] Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen, Rosina Márquez Reiter, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2018, p. 35-63Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this study, a negotiation interaction is analysed in three groups of native speakers of British English, Chilean Spanish and Swedish and in two groups of Swedish speakers of L2 English and L2 Spanish. The participants were asked to perform a task as ‘employees’ who phone their ‘boss’ in order to ask for a two-day leave – an activity in which both argumentative and rapport management strategies are foregrounded. The non-native speakers were all long-time residents in their respective host communities (Britain and Chile), they were all highly proficient in their L2, and they could thus be expected to be highly integrated in and familiar with their corresponding socio-cultures. The study involves several planes of comparison and includes the following research questions: (1) What consistent differences can be found between the three native groups with regard to categories and distribution of argumentative and rapport management strategies? (2) To what extent do the English- and Spanish-speaking non-native speakers act like their corresponding native speaker groups? (3) Can transfer from ‘Swedish’ patterns be detected in the non-native speaker groups? (4) Are there any specific ‘L2 speaker characteristics’ to be found in the L2 productions? (5) Can alignment be found to take place more easily among the Swedish participants in one target environment than in the other? The principal aspects examined in the dialogues are the ways in which the ‘employees’ prepare the ground for their request, the extent to which emotional vs. factual arguments are used, and  the amount and nature of repair work occurring in the dialogues after an agreement has been reached by the parties.  Our results show considerable differences between the three L1 groups, especially as regards how power distance and social distance are managed both by ‘employees’ and ‘bosses’. As regards L2 speaker behavior, alignment with target community patterns largely prevails and few instances of L1 transfer do occur. Finally, communicative clashes are found to take place more often in the Swedish-Spanish encounters than in the Swedish-English ones, arguably due to a wider cultural distance between Chilean and Swedish socio-cultures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2018. p. 35-63
Series
Benjamins Current Topics ; 96
Keywords [en]
argumentation strategies, conversational repair dialogue analysis, cross-cultural pragmatics, highly proficient L2 use, intercultural communication, rapport management, socio-pragmatic alignment
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-177349ISBN: 9789027263674 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-177349DiVA, id: diva2:1381929
Available from: 2019-12-30 Created: 2019-12-30 Last updated: 2020-01-08Bibliographically approved

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