Talking at Cross-Purposes

The dynamics of miscommunication

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Misunderstandings have been examined extensively in studies on cross-cultural (mis)communication which associate them with participants’ differing cultural backgrounds and/or linguistic knowledge. Drawing on a large corpus of misunderstandings from cross- and intra-cultural encounters, this book argues that miscommunication does not relate exclusively to participants’ background differences or similarities, but that its creation and development are tightly interwoven with the dynamic manner in which social encounters unfold. Against a backdrop of Pragmatics, Conversation Analysis and Goffman’s theory of frames and roles, the volume discusses a large number of misunderstandings and shows that they are associated with the constant identity and activity shifts as well as with the turn-by-turn construction of interpretative context in interaction. Besides students and researchers of pragmatics, conversation analysis and sociolinguistics, this book will also appeal to all those interested in the process of making, misinterpreting and clarifying meaning in social interaction.

Subjects: Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics and Dialectology

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