Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Previous studies on common ground (CG, for short) have mainly focused on its definition and functions in various daily interactions. Few studies explore the linguistic manipulations of CG in cross-cultural business interactions. This paper aims to fill in this gap by examining how sellers and buyers manipulate linguistic actions of activating, seeking and creating CG to make a deal. This study instantiates and develops Kecskes’ (2013) CG model. Based on qualitative analysis of data collected from email interactions between Chinese sellers and Australian buyers, I find that (1) Interlocutors often activate their core CG through manipulating frequency markers such as “again”, and epistemic markers such as “I knew”, “you know”, “might”; (2) Interlocutors seek core CG and emergent CG by manipulating epistemic markers such as “I’m sure”; (3) Interlocutors often bring the third party or element into the communication to create emergent CG by using question markers such as “you see?”, imperative markers such as “Do you understand!”, and narrative markers like “I tell you” and “once” or “before”; (4) The interpersonal manipulations of CG construction contribute to business integrity and reliability because the more efforts interlocutors make to activate, seek, and create CG, the more clarified and acceptable their business relations become in business communication. For the purpose of validating what I have found, I conduct a quantitative study of linguistic means of constructing CG in the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken American English (SBCSAE), and summarize the typical linguistic means of activating, seeking, and creating CG in various settings.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alm, Maria, and Helena Larsen
    2015 “Modal particles indexing common ground in two different registers.” Constructions & Frames7(2): 315–347. 10.1075/cf.7.2.06alm
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cf.7.2.06alm [Google Scholar]
  2. Arnseth, Hans Christian, and Ivar Solheim
    2002 “Making sense of shared knowledge”. InProceedings of CSCL 2002, Computer Support for Collaborative Learning: Foundations for a CSCL Community, ed. byGerry Stahl, 102–110. Boulder, Colorado: ACM Digital Library. 10.3115/1658616.1658631
    https://doi.org/10.3115/1658616.1658631 [Google Scholar]
  3. Barr, Dale. J.
    2004 “Establishing conventional communication systems: Is common knowledge necessary?” Cognitive Science28 (6): 937–962. 10.1207/s15516709cog2806_3
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15516709cog2806_3 [Google Scholar]
  4. Barr, Dale J. & Boaz Keysar
    2005 Mindreading in an exotic case: The normal adult human. InOther Minds: How Humans Bridge the Divide between Self and Other, ed. byBertram F. Malle and Sara D. Hodges, 271–283. New York: Guilford Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Beeching, Kate
    2016Pragmatic Markers in British English. Meaning in Social Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139507110
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139507110 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bigi, Sarah
    2018 The role of argumentative strategies in the construction of emergent common ground in a patient-centered approach to the medical encounter. Journal of Argumentation in Context7(2): 141–156. 10.1075/jaic.18028.big
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jaic.18028.big [Google Scholar]
  7. Buysse, Lieven
    2017 “The pragmatic marker you know in learner Englishes.” Journal of Pragmatics1211: 40–57. 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.09.010
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.09.010 [Google Scholar]
  8. Clark, Herbert
    1996Using Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511620539
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620539 [Google Scholar]
  9. Clark, Herbert, and Susan Brennan
    1991 “Grounding in communication”. InPerspectives on Socially Shared Cognition, ed. byL. Resnick, J. Levine, and S. Teasley, 127–149. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. 10.1037/10096‑006
    https://doi.org/10.1037/10096-006 [Google Scholar]
  10. Clark, Herbert, and Gregory L. Murphy
    1982 “Audience Design in Meaning and Reference”. Advances in Psychology91:287-299. 10.1016/S0166‑4115(09)60059‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0166-4115(09)60059-5 [Google Scholar]
  11. Colston, Herbert, and Albert N. Katz
    (Eds.) 2005Figurative Language Comprehension: Social and Cultural Influences. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Cogo, Alessia, and Martin Dewey
    2012Analyzing English as a Lingua Franca: A Corpus-driven InvestigationLondon & New York: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Davidson, Brad
    2002 “A model for the construction of conversational common ground in interpreted discourse.” Journal of Pragmatics341: 1273–1300. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(02)00025‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00025-5 [Google Scholar]
  14. Dinh, Hanh
    2019 “The use of indexicals to co-construct common ground on the continuum of intra- and intercultural communicative contexts.” Pragmatics & Cognition261:135–165. 10.1075/pc.19005.din
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pc.19005.din [Google Scholar]
  15. Diskin, Chloé
    2017 “The use of the discourse-pragmatic marker ‘like’ by native and non-native speakers of English in Ireland.” Journal of Pragmatics1201: 144–157. 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.08.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.08.004 [Google Scholar]
  16. Ehrenreich, Susanne
    2016 “English as a lingua franca (ELF) in international business contexts: key issues and future perspectives.” InExploring ELF in Japanese Academic and Business Contexts, ed. byKumiko Murata, 133–155. London & New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315732480
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315732480 [Google Scholar]
  17. Enfield, Nicholas J.
    2008 “Common ground as a resource for social affiliation.” InIntention, Common Ground and the Egocentric Speaker-Hearer, ed. byIstvan Kecskes and Jacob L. Mey, 223–254. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110211474.2.223
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110211474.2.223 [Google Scholar]
  18. Fischer, Kerstin
    2007 “Grounding and common ground: Modal particles and their translation equivalents.” InLexical markers of common grounds, ed. byAnita Fetzer & Kerstin Fischer, 47–66. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Haugh, Michael, Dániel Z. Kádár, and Sara Mills
    2013 “Interpersonal pragmatics: Issues and debates.” Journal of Pragmatics581: 1–11. 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.09.009
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.09.009 [Google Scholar]
  20. Horton, William S.
    2008 “A memory-based approach to common ground and audience design”. InIntention, Common Ground and the Egocentric Speaker-Hearer, ed. byIstvan Kecskes & Jacob L. Mey, 189–222. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110211474.2.189
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110211474.2.189 [Google Scholar]
  21. Jucker, Andreas H. and Sara W. Smith
    1996 “Explicit and implicit ways of enhancing common ground in conversations.” Pragmatics6 (1): 1–18. 10.1075/prag.6.1.01juc
    https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.6.1.01juc [Google Scholar]
  22. Kecskes, Istvan
    2000 “A cognitive-pragmatic approach to situation-bound utterances.” Journal of Pragmatics32(6): 605–625. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(99)00063‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(99)00063-6 [Google Scholar]
  23. 2008 “Dueling contexts: A dynamic model of meaning.” Journal of Pragmatics40 (3): 385–406. 10.1016/j.pragma.2007.12.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2007.12.004 [Google Scholar]
  24. 2013Intercultural Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892655.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892655.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  25. 2013 “Why do we say what we say the way we say it?” Journal of Pragmatics48 (1): 71–84. 10.1016/j.pragma.2012.11.010
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2012.11.010 [Google Scholar]
  26. Kecskes, Istvan, and Jacob L. Mey
    2008Intention, Common Ground and the Egocentric Speaker-Hearer. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110211474
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110211474 [Google Scholar]
  27. Kecskes, Istvan, and Fenghui Zhang
    2009 “Activating, seeking and creating common ground: A socio-cognitive approach.” Pragmatics & Cognition17 (2): 331–355. 10.1075/pc.17.2.06kec
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pc.17.2.06kec [Google Scholar]
  28. Koschmann, Timothy, and Curtis D. LeBaron
    2003 “Reconsidering common ground: Examining Clark’s contribution theory in the OR.” InProceedings of the Eight European Conference on Computer-supported Cooperative Work, ed. byK. Kuutti, E. H. Karsten, G. Fitzpatrick, P. Dourish and K. Schmidt, 81–98. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 10.1007/978‑94‑010‑0068‑0_5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-0068-0_5 [Google Scholar]
  29. Lee, Benny P. H.
    2001 “Mutual knowledge, background knowledge and shared beliefs: Their roles in establishing common ground.” Journal of Pragmatics33 (1): 21–44. 10.1016/S0378‑2166(99)00128‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(99)00128-9 [Google Scholar]
  30. Li, Chengtuan
    2009 “A study of the pragmatic functions of the discourse marker You see.” Foreign Language Teaching51: 15–21.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Lindgren, Ida, Richard Hirsch, and Peter Berggren
    2007 “It takes three points to define a common ground: breathing apparatus fire-fighters’ communication during rescue operations.” Journal of Pragmatics391: 1482–1502. 10.1016/j.pragma.2006.11.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2006.11.008 [Google Scholar]
  32. Liu, Ping, and Huiying Liu
    2017 “Creating common ground: the role of metapragmatic expressions in BELF meetings.” Journal of Pragmatics1071:1–15. 10.1016/j.pragma.2016.10.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2016.10.006 [Google Scholar]
  33. Locher, Miriam A., and Sage Lambert Graham
    2010 “Introduction to interpersonal pragmatics.” InInterpersonal Pragmatics, ed. byMiriam A. Locher, and Sage L. Graham, 1–13. Berlin: Mouton. 10.1515/9783110214338.0.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110214338.0.1 [Google Scholar]
  34. Locher, Miriam A.
    2013 “Relational work and interpersonal pragmatics.” Journal of Pragmatics581:138–151. 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.09.014
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.09.014 [Google Scholar]
  35. Ӧstman, Jan-Ola
    1981You Know: A Discourse-Functional Approach. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pb.ii.7
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pb.ii.7 [Google Scholar]
  36. Seidlhofer, Barbara
    2009 “Common Ground and Different Realities: World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca.” World English28 (2): 236–245. 10.1111/j.1467‑971X.2009.01592.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-971X.2009.01592.x [Google Scholar]
  37. 2012Understanding English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. 2016 “ELF: English in a global context.” InExploring ELF in Japanese Academic and Business Contexts, ed. byKumiko Murata, 17–28. London & New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Stubbe, Maria, and Janet Holmes
    1995 “You know, eh and other ‘exasperating expressions’: An analysis of social and stylistic variation in the use of pragmatic devices in a sample of New Zealand English.” Language & Communication15 (1): 63–88. 10.1016/0271‑5309(94)00016‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0271-5309(94)00016-6 [Google Scholar]
  40. Vatanen, Anna
    2018 “Resisting an action in conversation by pointing out epistemic incongruence: Mä tiedän ‘I know’ responses in Finnish.” Journal of Pragmatics1231:192–208. 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.06.009
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.06.009 [Google Scholar]
  41. Zafifiu, Rodica
    2018 “Epistemic and evidential markers in the rhetorical context of Concession.” Journal of Pragmatics1281: 116–127. 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.07.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.07.008 [Google Scholar]
  42. Zhang, Man, Weiwei Sun, Huan Peng, Qiong Gan, and Bo Yu
    2017 “A multidimensional analysis of metadiscourse markers across spoken registers.” Journal of Pragmatics1171:106–118. 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.06.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.06.004 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

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