Chapter 2. Cross-cultural stances in online discussions
“One of the most important things we do with wordsis take a stance.” John Du Bois (2007: 139) This study examines the cultural, grammatical, and interactional features of the opinions expressed by French and American college students during telecollaborative discussions of individualism. Research on telecollaboration suggests that L1 pragmatic differences in stancetaking prove problematic for cross-cultural communication. This study adopts a mixed methods approach that includes quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the disparate phenomena associated with stancetaking. Lexical associations and word frequency data indicate different French and American cultural models of the discussion topic. Concordance data confirm the cultural models by uncovering divergent L1 patterns of first-person singular reference. Finally, a qualitative analysis of a single discussion demonstrates how the French and American students negotiate their mismatched L1 stances during online interaction.