Turn-taking in a meeting in China : an intercultural pragmatic interpretation with illustrations

Brodie, Tom (2016) Turn-taking in a meeting in China : an intercultural pragmatic interpretation with illustrations. In: Lancaster Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics and Language Teaching 2016, 2016-07-11 - 2016-07-11.

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Turn-taking in a meeting in China: An intercultural pragmatic interpretation with illustration from the transcript Intercultural communication is becoming increasingly important as cross-border work pattern trends continue to grow and change. More of us are dealing with intercultural situations as part of our professional lives and in order for interaction in these situations to become more successful, better awareness of pragmatic values spanning beyond an individual’s own native ones is essential. In my opinion, being able to operate interculturally requires having a pragmatic competence or ‘understanding [of] what is meant by what is said’ (Thomas, 1981). Intercultural communication can be thought of as featuring a speaker and a hearer who have different first languages, but a need to communicate in a common one (Kecskes, 2011). Kecskes (2014) suggests that pragmatic understanding in monolingual contexts functions on the basis of there being commonalities between interlocutors in interactional contexts. People in intercultural contexts, therefore, may find themselves operating in a highly unfamiliar pragmatic framework – the commonalties may be removed. Fewer ‘pre-existing frameworks’ are available to the interlocutors and thus the potential for confusion is much higher. Turn-taking has pragmatic value, and it is worthy of study, in that it may reveal certain pragmatic strategies employed for certain purposes, for instance conversation repair through humour. The paper thus takes an intercultural pragmatic take on turn-taking between a Chinese L1 group and English L1 group in the context of a weekly staff meeting. 25 minutes worth of spoken interactional data were collected during a meeting in a training school in Mainland China towards the end of last year and transcribed to form the basis of the study. This paper will present several short extracts from this transcript to show certain turn-taking patterns that became apparent in such a context and will provide some analysis and commentary on possible intercultural strategies at play based on a pragmatic interpretation. As misunderstanding in such contexts is common and can easily enforce unhelpful stereotyping on both sides, a better understanding of such interactional patterns will ultimately help increase an individual’s interpretative capacity when partaking in such meetings. Kecskes, I. (2011) Intercultural Pragmatics. In Archer, D., & Grundy, P. (Eds.). (2011). The Pragmatics Reader. RoutledgeKecskes, I. (2014). Intercultural pragmatics. Oxford University PressThomas, J. a. (1981). Pragmatic Failure, 4(2).

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Contribution to Conference (Paper)
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Lancaster Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics and Language Teaching 2016
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11 Jan 2018 13:36
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08 Nov 2023 00:21