Chinese and Danish business professionals’ facework strategies in ELF: A Comparative Study - Emotions, Face Concern, and Conflict Avoidance

Xia Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    Situated at the intersection between cross-cultural pragmatics, second language acquisition and business communication, the present study investigates how Danish and Chinese business professionals differ from each other in terms of their pragmatic competence in ELF and why. It aims at developing a better understanding of Danish and Chinese communication differences in using ELF, which is ‘a prerequisite to understanding intercultural communication’ (Gudykunst, 2003) in professional encounters.
    In this study, I adopt both Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory and Durst-Andersen’s (2011, 2015) cognitive-semiotic theory of communication as my theoretical framework. The data is situational closed role play data in two different varieties of ELF and their respective L1s by Danish and Chinese business people in business scenarios. Compared with written discourse completion test and naturally-occurring data, closed role play provides semi-ethnographic oral data with semi-experimental set-up in the scenario designs.
    After initial data analysis, quantitative differences were found on the pragmalinguistic level. By adopting qualitative thematic content analysis in Nvivo 10 and communicational grammatical analysis (Durst-Andersen, 2015) of key lexical items, I also found cultural differences on the socialpragmatic level, esp. in terms of mindsets, norms and values. The results point to significant differences in how Danish and Chinese professional ELF speakers interpret scenarios with regard to ownership, obligation, rights and responsibilities. Finally I propose an integrated approach to improving business professionals’ pragmatic competence in English as a lingua franca.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventThe 6th International Conference on Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice. ALAPP 2016: Transnational Flows and Professional Practice - University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: 3 Nov 20165 Nov 2016
    Conference number: 6


    ConferenceThe 6th International Conference on Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice. ALAPP 2016
    LocationUniversity of Copenhagen
    Internet address


    • Use of lingua franca in professional encounters
    • Linguistic training for professionals
    • Language policy and practice in the professions

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