Listenership in polylogic discourse

In: Corpus Linguistics and Variation in English

Abstract

This study investigates how listenership is manifested in a particular discourse setting, namely simulated business negotiation. The study is based on material recorded on video from a corpus of negotiations between international business students. There is a special focus on the interactional placement of backchannels. This refers to the direction of backchannelling between the two teams as well as possible trajectories of listenership signals between the individual interlocutors. The data shows that backchannels are used not only as indicators of listenership across the negotiation table, signalling comprehension vis-à-vis speakers from the opposite team, but also to support co-team members’ utterances and that the pragmatic functions of individual tokens crucially depend on the context of use.

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