Volume 40, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Focusing specifically on the negotiation of commonality, this study explores rapport building ( Spencer-Oatey, 2000 ) in online intercultural text chat, where Australian students of Italian interact with L1 Italian speakers. Although the initial purpose of the examined chat exchanges is to facilitate L2 acquisition, analysis of transcripts indicates that participants also seek to establish affiliation and friendship, through discussion of shared experiences, preferred leisure activities, and personal likings. Such orientation to like-mindedness and commonality can be an concern in their interactions, as well as an mentionable in their talk. Participants also successfully engage in complex face-saving and rapport maintenance strategies where there is potential for disagreement. Overall, the data suggest that identified rapport-building language and behaviors promote the establishment of positive relationships, as a key component of online intercultural text chat. Thus, from a pedagogical viewpoint, these interactions appear beneficial both for L2 learning and student wellbeing. The study concludes with suggestions for the integration of similar tasks into language programs.


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