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The construction of intercultural discourse

Team discussions of educational advisers

Series:

Tom Koole and Jan D. ten Thije

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.

Chinese-Dutch Business Negotiations

Insights from Discourse

Series:

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.