Research methods for describing variation in intercultural pragmatics for cultures in contact and conflict
The chapter considers options for conducting research in intercultural pragmatics, and focuses on doctor-patient interactions in the US Southwest in which intercultural pragmatics is involved as a vehicle for highlighting the number of variables that can lead to pragmatic variation in the research outcomes. When doctors use Spanish as a nonnative language, the question is how their pragmatics is perceived by their Spanish-speaking Mexican immigrant patients and with what impact. The suggested study compares the pragmatics of this context with that of native Spanish-speaking doctors interacting with these same patients, English-speaking doctors interacting with mainstream patients in English in the U.S. Southwest, and doctors in Mexico interacting with their patients. Research design issues, types of data employed, the measures used, and concerns about data analysis. The purpose is to problematize just what the study of intercultural pragmatics involves when looking at speech communities in flux and taking into account individual variation.