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In: Language – Meaning – Social Construction
In: Language – Meaning – Social Construction
In: Language – Meaning – Social Construction
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.
With contributions of Simone Bonnafous, Françoise Gadet, Paul Henry, Alain Lecomte, Jacqueline Léon, Denise Maldidier, Jean-Marie Marandin and Michel Plon
Author: Michel Pêcheux
This volume offers the long-awaited overview of the work of the French philosopher and discourse analyst Michel Pêcheux, who was the leading figure in French discourse analysis until his death in 1983. The volume presents the first English publication of the work of Pêcheux and his coworkers on automatic discourse analysis. It is presented with extensive annotations and introductions, written by former colleagues such as Françoise Gadet, Paul Henry and Denise Maldidier. Outside France, French discourse analysis is almost exclusively known as the form of philosophical discourse presented by such authors as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. The contemporary empirical forms of French discourse analysis have not reached a wider public to the degree they deserve. Through its combination of original texts, annotations, and several introductory texts, this volume facilitates an evaluation of both results and weaknesses of French discourse analysis in general and of the work of Michel Pêcheux and his coworkers in particular.
This book breaks open the 'black box' of the workplace, where successful immigrants work together with their Dutch colleagues. In their intercultural team meetings the work itself consists of communication and the question is how that work is done.
The teams consist of Dutch, Turkish, Moroccan, and Surinamese educational experts whose job it is to advise schools and teachers on the form and content of language teaching.
Their meetings are structured according to institutional patterns, such as 'interactive planning' and 'reporting', and according to intercultural discourse structures. For instance, Dutch team members identify their immigrant colleagues as 'immigrant specialists' and are themselves identified as 'institutional specialists'. Further, the intercultural pattern 'thematizing and unthematizing racism' provides the team members with communicative methods to deal with the societal contradictions that exist between different cultural groups, in the Netherlands as well as elsewhere. These intercultural discourse structures concur with the institutional patterns so that, for instance, they affect the outcomes of planning discussions.
Most studies on intercultural communication focus on misunderstandings and miscommunications. This book demonstrates that also communication without miscommunication can be shown to be intercultural.
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.
Selected Papers from the Fifth International Bakhtin Conference University of Manchester, July 1991