Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This paper is a description of some typical differences in conversational routines in French and Australian English, and the kinds of tensions that arise when speakers with two different sets of rules come into contact. This conflict exists for most French people in Australia, who speak English, but who tend to retain their French conversational strategies. The paper shows that even simple questions contain a variety of assumptions ranging from whom it is suitable to ask, to the kind of answer or the amount of detail expected. These differences lead to an analysis of the different underlying cultural values governing the rules of interaction in the two languages. This study is based on visits to a French company operating in Australia, with employees being taped on the job as well as being interviewed individually.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Béal, C.
    (1990) It’s all in the asking: a perspective on problems of cross-cultural communication between native speakers of French and native speakers of Australian English in the workplace. Australian Review of Applied LinguisticsSeries S. 7: 16–32.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Bennet, A.
    (1978) Interruptions and the interpretation of conversation. InProceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, University of California, Berkeley. doi: 10.3765/bls.v4i0.2199
    https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v4i0.2199 [Google Scholar]
  3. Brown, P. and S. Levinson
    (1988) Politeness. Some universals in language usage. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Carroll, R.
    (1987) Evidences invisibles. Américains et Français au quotidien. Paris, Seuil.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Garfinkel, H.
    (1984) Heritage ch. 4Remarks on ethnomethodology. In Gumperz and Hymes (eds): 301–324.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Lakoff, R.
    (1974) What you can do with words: politeness, pragmatics, and performatives Berkeley Studies. Syntax and semantics I:XVI – 1 – 55.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Loveday, L.
    (1982) Communicative interference: A framework for contrastively analysing L2 communicative competence exemplified with the linguistic behaviour of Japanese performing in English. International Review of Applied LinguisticsXX/1:1 -16. doi: 10.1515/iral.1982.20.1‑4.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/iral.1982.20.1-4.1 [Google Scholar]
  8. Sapir, E.
    (1958) Speech as a personality trait. In D. Mandelbaum (ed.) Selected writings of Edward Sapir in language, culture and personality. Berkeley, University of California.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Tannen, D.
    (1983) When is an overlap not an interruption? One component of conversational style. The First Delaware Symposium on Language Studies, Newark, University of Delaware Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Thomas, J.
    (1984) Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Applied Linguistics4, 1:91–112.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Tucker, G.R. and W.E. Lambert
    (1973) Sociocultural aspects of language study. In J.W. Oiler and J.C. Richards (eds). Focus on the learner: pragmatic perspectives for the language teacher.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Wierzbicka, A.
    (1985) Different cultures, different languages, different speech acts. Journal of Pragmatics9: 145–178. doi: 10.1016/0378‑2166(85)90023‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(85)90023-2 [Google Scholar]
  13. (1991) Cross-cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction. Berlin, Mouton & De Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error