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Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret?
Since the 1990s we witness a rise in public apologies. Are we living in the ‘Age of Apology’?
Interesting research questions can be raised about the opportunity, the form, the meaning, the effectiveness and the ethical implications of public apologies.
Are they not merely a clever and easy device to escape real and tangible responsibility for mistakes or wrong done? Are they not at risk to become well-rehearsed rituals that claim to express regret but, in fact, avoid doing so?
In a joint interdisciplinary effort, the contributors to this book, combining findings from their specific fields of research (legal, religious, political, linguistic, marketing and communication studies), attempt to articulate this tension between ritual and sincere regret, between the discourse and the content of apologies, between excuses that pretend and regret that seeks reconciliation.
A linguistic analysis of ICT-mediated disclosure genres
Financial disclosure has become a crucial component of corporate communication. Through this process, companies aim to provide information and project an image of trustworthiness in response to on-going ethical concerns in the world of finance. Rhetoric in financial discourse provides new insights into how companies communicate with key stakeholders, not only to boost transparency, but also to attract investment. The book offers an in-depth linguistic analysis of the rhetorical dimension of financial communication. It focuses on two technology-mediated genres which are widely used, yet remain largely unexplored from a rhetorical perspective: earnings presentations and earnings releases. Using an innovative methodological approach, the book shows how corporate speakers and writers use distinctive rhetorical strategies to achieve their professional goals. It includes a practical discussion of how the findings can be exploited to develop state-of-the-art corporate communication courses and to improve the effectiveness of financial disclosure in professional settings.
The book contributes to an enhanced understanding of the language of finance, representing a discourse community that involves and impacts the lives of many people around the world. It will be of interest to several communities of practice, including language researchers, discourse analysts, corpus linguists, finance and communication academics, students of business and finance, and professionals of financial communication.
Studies on discourse and language learning originated in the field of general education and they focused on first language learning environments. However, since 1980s research on discourse and language learning broadened the scope of investigation to respond to second and foreign language environments. Recently, the emergence of new language learning contexts such as computer mediated communication, multilingual settings or content and language integrated contexts requires further research that focuses on discourse and language learning. From this perspective, the present volume aims to broaden the scope of investigation in foreign language contexts by exploring discourse patterns in the classroom and examining the impact of factors such as gender, explicitness of feedback or L1 use on language learning through discourse. With that aim in mind, this volume will bring together research that investigates discourse in various instructional settings, namely those of primary, secondary and university L2 learning environments, content and language integrated contexts and other new language learning settings. The number and variety of languages involved both as the first language (e.g. English, Finnish, Basque, Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian, Catalan) as well as the target foreign language (e.g. English, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish) makes the volume specially attractive. Additionally, the different approaches adopted by the researchers participating in this volume, such as information processing, sociocultural theory, or conversation analysis, widen the realm of investigation on discourse and language learning. Finally, the strength of the volume also lies in the range of educational settings (primary, secondary and tertiary education) and the worldwide representation of contributors across seven different countries, namely those of Spain, France, Austria, Finland, Germany, Canada, Australia and the United States. The uniqueness of the volume is due to its eclectic and comprehensive nature in tackling instructional discourse. Worldwide outstanding researchers, like Julianne House, Carme Muñoz, Ute Smit, Tarja Nikula or Roy Lyster, to quote but a few, adopt different perspectives in this joint contribution that will certainly broaden the scope of research on language learners’ discourse.
Author: Wyke Stommel
Online support groups are considered highly valuable in addition to traditional health care services, but we know very little about how people actually join such a group. This book offers a microanalysis of an online support group on eating disorders, specifically the communication through textual messages between newcomers and regular members and members’ nicknames. The study uses an ethnomethodological and conversation analytical approach to show that members of online support groups treat the group as a community in which their illness-identity is highly relevant. It appears that members invoke community norms regarding legitimacy for newcomers: Newcomers are expected to admit that they are ill, but this is a very difficult step for those who have not yet fully adopted the “sick role” (Parsons, 1951). In the field of eating disorders, it is particularly difficult for people that tend to pro-ana, i.e. the glamorization of eating disorders. The insecurity and anxiety that newcomers display as they enter the online group could probably be relieved when a special entry subforum would be installed in which they can take time and space to actually recognize that they are ill.
Pioneering in the comparison of standard language teaching in Europe, the International Mother tongue Education Network (IMEN) in the last twenty-five years stimulated experts from more than fifteen European countries to participate in a range of research projects in this field of qualitative educational analyses. The volume “Research on mother tongue education in a comparative international perspective – Theoretical and methodological issues” documents theoretical principals and methodological developments that during the last decades shaped IMEN research and may enlarge the fundaments of comparative qualitative research in language education in a seminal way. The topics of this volume include:
• IMEN’s aims, points of departure, history and methodology;
• research on the professional practical knowledge of MTE-teachers;
• innovation, key incident analysis and international triangulation;
• positioning in theory and practice.
Also included: the IMEN bibliography 1984-2004 which supplies a complete picture of IMEN research activities from the beginning.
This book addresses the need for a systematic approach to the study of identities. It explores the potential of drawing conclusions about linguistic identities through analysis of source and target versions of texts. It focuses on English-Greek translation contexts and brings in evidence from other language pairs. It investigates systematic variation in three genres (press, EU and literary/theatre translation contexts) to trace signs of intercultural difference inscribed in text that may be part of the source or target identity. It, thus highlights the potential of translation to enlighten research on identity and contributes insights into interdisciplinary projects on intercultural difference. This book has a consciousness-raising intention, in that it seeks to enhance linguistic identity awareness and shed light on its development.
Reading notes constitute a vast resource for an understanding of literary history and culture. They indicate what writers read as well as how they read and what they used in their own work. As such, they play an important role in both the reception and the production of texts. The essays in this volume, representing the newest trends in European and international textual scholarship, examine literary creation and the relationship between reading and writing. To study how readers respond to writing and how reading engenders new writing, the contributing scholars no longer take for granted that authors write in splendid isolation, but turn to a more broadly sociological investigation of authorship, assigning new roles to the writer as reader, notetaker, annotator, book collector and so on.
Notes and annotations may be fragmentary, private, undigested and embryonic, but as witnesses to the reading process, they tell unique stories about writers and readers, ranging from great marginalists like Coleridge to women annotators of cookbooks. This subject of research is a junction of several fields of research and tries to bridge gaps between separate disciplines with a common ground, such as the history of the book, the history of reading, and the history of writing, scholarly editing, and textual genetics (the analysis, commentary and critical interpretation of the way in which works of art come into being), bridging the gap between literary and textual criticism.
On the cognitive mechanisms underlying wording effects in surveys
Author: Bregje Holleman
Questionnaires are widely used in the social sciences and very often survey data form the basis for governmental and commercial planning or evaluation. Yet the quality of survey data is not attested to, since a large variety of factors in the language-use situation prove to influence the answers unintentionally. The forbid/allow asymmetry is a well-known example of this: when respondents are asked whether something should be forbidden, about 50% may answer ‘yes, forbid’ – whereas an equivalent question phrased with the verb ‘to allow’ could well cause up to 75% of the respondents to answer ‘no, it should not be allowed’. Which question wording is preferable to measure respondents’ true attitudes? Only when we know why the answers differ, can we decide on that.
This book is the first to apply a systematic cognitive approach to describe the causes of the forbid/allow asymmetry. The question-answering process is unravelled by a variety of experiments and meta-analytic techniques. Analyses reveal that the difference in question wording does not prompt respondents to retrieve different attitudes. Instead, the asymmetry reflects that the question wording causes the response options to be used differently. Because of the qualifying dimensions in the question text, the meanings of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ change, as well as the cognitive distance between them.
This study sheds a different light on processes of question-answering and text interpretation. Furthermore, practical advice on questionnaire design and on the interpretation of survey data is given on the basis of these new insights.
User interfaces and supporting documentation are both supposed to help people when using a complex device. But often, these forms of support seem to come from different worlds. User interface designers, document designers, and researchers in both interface and document design share many goals, but are also separated by many barriers.
In this book, user interface designers and documents designers from Microsoft Corporation and from Apple Computer, plus researchers from several universities try to bridge the gap between interface design and document design. They discuss opportunities for closer cooperation, and for more integrated and effective help for users of modern technology.
Author: Xiangling LI
The Chinese are known as an inscrutable people in the West. With the rapid globalisation of world business, China, with its booming economy and as one of the world's largest emerging markets, is attracting increasing numbers of international traders and investors. Various sources have shown that language and culture are, among other factors, two of the major obstacles to successful business collaborations between the Chinese and Westerners. This dissertation aims to help remove these obstacles by offering some insights into the intricate mechanisms of business negotiation between the Chinese and the Dutch.
While most of the research concerning Chinese-Western communication has used everyday conversation as the subject of study, this research chooses negotiation, the core of international business, as its subject. Micro-level qualitative discourse analyses are used as the main research method in addition to ethnographic methods such as the questionnaire survey and interview. The main data used are simulated as well as real-life video-taped Chinese-Dutch business negotiations. Questionnaire survey and interview data from real-life Chinese and Dutch negotiators are used as support data. The phenomena recurrently cropping up across the negotiations are examined at a turn-to-turn level to pinpoint places where problems arise that prevent the negotiators from reaching mutual understandings and fulfilling negotiation goals. The deep-rooted cultural concepts underlying the linguistic phenomena prove to be the main trouble sources. The results of this research are relevant for both the academic and business world.