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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.
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.
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.
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.
In recent years there has been an increasing realization that language and literature are, so to speak, socioculturally consubstantial. Accordingly literary scholars and linguists now often define their interests in sociohistorical terms, and the 'lang.-lit.' divide is giving way to shared concerns which are interdisciplinary between the three poles: poetics, linguistics, society. To illustrate and consolidate this new interdisciplinarity, the editors of this volume have collected a number of articles specially written by an international team of scholars, including figures of the highest international distinction. Key interdisciplinary terms such as contextualization, addressivity, and convention are subjected to critical scrutiny and applied to particular texts. Some of the most widely canvassed theories of communication and literature, particularly Sperber and Wilson's relevance theory and Bakhtin's sociolinguistic poetics, are carefully assessed and extended to new areas. And there are contextualizing approaches to phenomena such as genre, historical genre modulation, irony, metaphor, Modernist impersonality, unreliable narration, informal style, and literary gossip.
The book's argument is carefully structured. An extensive introduction outlines the general background of ideas and the thirteen articles are grouped into four main sections, linked together by a clear line of questioning and discussion which is made explicit in sectional introductions.
The book is addressed to established scholars, postgraduate students, and advanced undergraduates who are interested in linguistics, literary theory, literary criticism, and sociocultural history and searching for ways of bringing these branches of learning into synergetic relation with each other.