Back channelling, repair, pausing, and private speech

September 1997
Applied Linguistics;Sep1997, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p314
Academic Journal
While negotiating for meaning has become extensively studied, negotiating as a speech event remains a curiously under researched area in applied linguistics Although existing studies have demonstrated norm based macro-level differences, little work has been done on micro-level features and their relationship to the style and outcomes of negotiating The present study, based on a corpus of simulated sales negotiations involving American and Japanese participants, focuses on differences in back channelling, repair, repetition, pausing, and private speech among the two groups of subjects, relating these features to norm differences in negotiating and to the management of face wants Although the two groups of speakers appear to converge in back channelling behaviour, which is especially characteristic of the Japanese subjects interactional style, the function of back channelling differs, the Americans favouring [+judgmental] reinforcers, the Japanese [−judgmental] prompters Pausing is seen to be a negotiating management tactic more effectively deployed by the American participants, while repair, a feature of Americans behaviour, appears to have a tactical function as a marker of tentativeness in the management of face wants and the pursuit of solidarity It is suggested that differences in the deployment of such features by American and Japanese subjects can result in pragma-linguistic breakdown, which in turn is linked to culturally related norm differences


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