Browsing by Subject "variational pragmatics"

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  • Nilsson, Jenny; Norrthon, Stefan; Lindström, Jan; Wide, Camilla (2018)
    While greetings are performed in all cultures and open most conversations, previous studies suggest that there are cross-cultural differences between different languages in greeting behavior. But do speakers of different national varieties of the same language organize and perform their greeting behavior in similar ways? In this study, we investigate the sequential organization of greetings in relation to gaze behavior in the two national varieties of Swedish: Sweden Swedish spoken in Sweden and Finland Swedish spoken in Finland. In recent years, the importance of studying pluricentric languages from a pragmatic perspective has been foregrounded, not least within the framework of variational pragmatics. To date, most studies have focused on structural differences between national varieties of pluricentric languages. With this study, we extend the scope of variational pragmatics through adding an interactional, micro perspective to the broader macro analysis typical of this field. For this study, we have analyzed patterns for greetings in 297 videorecorded service encounters, where staff and customers interact at theatre box offices and event booking venues in Sweden and Finland. The study shows that there are similarities and differences in greeting behavior between varieties. There is a strong preference for exchanging reciprocal verbal greetings, one at a time, in both. There is also a similar organization of the greeting sequence, where customer and staff establish mutual gaze prior to the verbal greetings, thus signaling availability for interaction. The duration of mutual gaze and the timing of the greeting, however, differ between the two varieties. We have also conducted a multi modal analysis of gaze behavior in correlation to the greeting. We found that the customers and staff in the Finland Swedish data share mutual gaze before and during the verbal greeting, and often avert gaze after the verbal greetings. However, in the Sweden Swedish data, the participants often avert gaze before the verbal greetings. Our results thus indicate that both similarities and differences in pragmatic routines and bodily behavior exist between the two national varieties of Swedish. The present study on greeting practices in Finland Swedish and Sweden Swedish should contribute to the field of variational pragmatics and to the development of pluricentric theory.
  • Lindström, Jan Krister; Lindholm, Camilla Christina; Norrby, Catrin; Wide, Camilla; Nilsson, Jenny (John Benjamins, 2017)
    Studies in Language and Social Interaction
    This chapter investigates the use of imperative-formatted directives in Swedish medical consultations. The specific focus of the chapter is the division of labor between straight, non-modulated imperative turns and imperative turns which are modulated with a discourse particle or some other verbal mitigating device. The results show that non-modulated imperative turns are embedded in diagnostic work, nominating subsequent actions in a series. Orientations to projected trajectories of action and the other participant’s expectations are clearly present when modulated imperative turns are produced; they are also frequent in the opening and closing routines of the consultations. Thus, there is a link between routinized and projectable actions and the use of imperatives with a pragmatic modulating element.
  • Norrby, Catrin; Wide, Camilla; Lindström, Jan; Nilsson, Jenny (2015)
    This article investigates how interpersonal relationships are expressed in medical consultations. In particular, we focus on how modes of address are used in the two national varieties of Swedish: Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish, with the aim to compare the pragmatic routines in the two varieties. Thus the study contributes to the field of variational pragmatics, where national varieties of pluricentric languages are recognised as important research objects. Address practices are analysed in two comparable corpora of video recordings from Sweden and Finland using both a quantitative and a qualitative CA-inspired method. There are several differences between the data sets: the Sweden-Swedish data are characterised by exclusive use of the informal T pronoun (du ‘you’) and an overall higher frequency of direct address compared to the Finland-Swedish data. In some medical consultations in the latter Finland-Swedish data the formal V pronoun (ni) is used. The qualitative analysis confirms these differences and the tendency is that the Sweden-Swedish medical consultations are more informal than the Finland-Swedish ones, which are characterised by more formality and maintenance of social distance between the interlocutors. The different pragmatic orientations at the micro level of communication can also be related to socio-cultural preferences at the macro level in society – the development towards greater informality and intimate language is more pronounced in Sweden than in Finland.
  • Lindström, Jan Krister; Nilsson, Jenny; Norrby, Catrin; Wide, Camilla (Presses universitaires de Caen, 2015)
    Les variétés d’une même langue peuvent différer les unes des autres parce que parlées dans différentes zones d’une même aire linguistique. Par exemple, certaines variétés peuvent entretenir entre elles des rapports plus étroits que d’autres, ou bien telle variété peut se trouver en contact avec une langue par laquelle les autres ne seront pas influencées. Ainsi que diverses études en dialectologie et sociolinguistique l’ont montré, une telle variation régionale peut souvent être observée en termes de différences linguistiques formelles concernant la prononciation, le lexique et la grammaire. En outre, les variétés d’une même langue peuvent différer parce que parlées et utilisées dans différents contextes culturels, comme par exemple une langue parlée dans deux pays différents présentant des codes culturels qui leur sont propres. Si la nature de cette variation linguistique n’est pas en premier lieu phonologique, lexicale, syntaxique ou sémantique, on peut la dire pragmatique, c’est-à-dire liée aux usages de la langue en tant qu’outil d’interaction avec des interlocuteurs. Ainsi, une variété pourra par exemple, par rapport à une autre, favoriser l’emploi de formes d’adresse plus formelles. C’est justement ce type de variation pragmatique au sein d’une même langue parlée dans différents pays qui constitue le sujet de notre étude. Notre travail se concentre en effet sur les deux variétés nationales du suédois: celle parlée en Suède (le suédois de Suède) et celle parlée en Finlande (le suédois de Finlande). Dans une première partie, nous dresserons ainsi un aperçu de l’aire linguistique du suédois et de la population svécophone en Finlande, puis nous exposerons certaines caractéristiques formelles du suédois de Finlande. Dans un deuxième point, nous présenterons nos recherches examinant un aspect moins traité de la variation pragmatique, en comparant les formes d’adresse et les moyens de l’éloge et de la critique en suédois de Suède et de Finlande.
  • Norrby, Catrin; Lindström, Jan; Nilsson, Jenny; Wide, Camilla (John Benjamins, 2020)
    Many languages are pluricentric in nature, i.e. they exist as a national or official language in more than one nation. They range from languages diffused widely across different continents, such as English or Spanish, to languages predominantly used in neighbouring countries, such as Dutch or Swedish. In the following we introduce readers to both foundational and more recent research of pluricentric languages, as well as current debates in the field. While the first attempts to describe the conditions typical of pluricentric languages appeared in the 1960s, it took until the 1980s for the field to establish itself, through theoretical as well as empirical accounts of pluricentricity. From early on, there have been accounts of the power relationships between different varieties of pluricentric languages, in particular with regard to power asymmetries between national varieties, often expressed as dominant versus non-dominant varieties. Among other things, this has resulted in extensive research into the varying status of non-dominant national, or sub-national, varieties, an endeavour which also draws attention to language ideologies and linguistic rights of national (and other) varieties of pluricentric languages. A related issue here concerns whether the description primarily should follow national borders or concern regional variation within a language, often subsumed under the headings pluricentricity and pluriareality respectively. Parallel to such theoretically motivated inquiry, there has been substantial empirical research from the outset. The early, foundational work in the field was primarily concerned with the description of linguistic structural differences, such as phonological, morphological or lexical variation between varieties of pluricentric languages. This interest has hardly abated, but it has been complemented by other perspectives in more recent years. In particular, there has been an increasing emphasis on pragmatic and interactional variation. The shift in interest to include pragmatic variation can to a large extent be credited to work within the field variational pragmatics where pluricentricity is treated as a case of regional variation. While studies in variational pragmatics have explored micro-pragmatic variation, based on both experimental and actual discourse, more recently others have focused on the sequentiality of authentic interactional data from the perspective of conversation analysis and interactional linguistics. Even though some methodological differences exist between variational pragmatics and the interactional paradigm, they also have much in common and there has been cross-fruition between the two.
  • Lindström, Jan; Norrby, Catrin; Wide, Camilla; Nilsson, Jenny (2019)
    This study examines positive low- and high-grade assessments in service encounters between customers and salespersons conducted in Swedish and recorded in Sweden and Finland. The assessments occur in a regular sequential pattern as third-turn moves that complete request-delivery sequences, longer coherent requesting sections, or request sequences in a pre-closing context. The positive valence of the assessments coheres with the satisfactory outcome of task completion, but their function is primarily pragmatic, used for segmenting the flow of task-oriented institutional interaction. The assessments stand as lexical TCUs, and their delivery is characterized by downgraded prosody and the speaker's embodied shift away from the other. The analysis reveals distributional differences in the interactional practice: Customers produce task-completing assessments more often than the salespersons, and high-grade assessments are more frequent in the data from Sweden than from Finland. The data are in Sweden Swedish and Finland Swedish with English translations.
  • Lindström, Jan Krister; Wide, Camilla (Göteborg University, 2017)
    Göteborgsstudier i nordisk språkvetenskap
    I det här bidraget koncentrerar vi oss på inledningssekvenser i servicesamtal på svenska som spelats in vid biljettkassor på teatrar, arenor och kulturcenter i Sverige och Finland. Vi fokuserar specifikt ärendepresentationer, dvs. hur kunderna formulerar orsaken till sitt besök. Typiska ärenden i materialet utgörs av inköp av biljetter eller avhämtning av på förhand bokade biljetter. Våra frågeställningar gäller utformningen av ärendepresentationer: vilken variation finns det i den grammatiska formen av den här typen av social handling, vilka pragmatiska markörer förekommer i den, i vilken mån är variationen förknippad med ärendets art eller varieteten (sverigesvenska, finlandssvenska)? I vårt material kan vi observera en rätt stor variation i hur kunderna formulerar sitt ärende: från korthuggna, frasformade yttranden (Matchen ikväll) till satsformade deklarativa eller interrogativa yttranden med eller utan modala element (Ja skulle komma å lösa ut två biljetter; Har du några biljetter kvar på måndag?). Kundernas turer kan även innehålla pragmatiska markörer av typen du (Sverige), hördu (Finland), va (Sverige), dedär (Finland). Vidare kan turen där ärendet presenteras föregås av en förklarande försekvens eller följas av en eftersekvens i samma syfte. Undersökningsmaterialet omfattar ca 300 videoinspelade sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska servicesamtal från 2013–14. Materialet har insamlats inom forskningsprogrammet Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk (IVIP), som undersöker språkliga och interaktionella praktiker i sverigesvenska och finlandssvenska (se t.ex. Norrby m.fl. 2015). Metodiskt anknyter vår analys till variationspragmatik och interaktionell lingvistik (Schneider & Barron 2008, Couper-Kuhlen & Selting 2001).
  • Nilsson, Jenny; Norrby, Catrin; Bohman, Love; Skogmyr Marian, Klara; Wide, Camilla; Lindström, Jan (2020)
    This study investigates the use of greetings in Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish service encounters and the social meaning of different greeting forms. Situated within the framework of variational pragmatics, the study explores Swedish as a pluricentric language and investigates with interactional and statistical analyses to what extent the variable nation affect variation in greeting forms. While nation indeed is an important factor, the study also illustrates how social variables such as age, gender and participant roles as well as situational variables such as medium, region and venue impact the greeting choices participants make. Further, by applying an interactional analytical perspective the study contributes to the methodological development of variational pragmatics. This analysis shows how the sequential position of a greeting plays a part in the choice of greetings, and demonstrates that pragmatic variation emerges in interaction. The article suggests that greetings can be a resource for indexing the degree of social distance between interlocutors, and thereby manifest recurring cultural patterns.