The relational dimension of work-related talk

The uniqueness of man (…) lies not in his ability to perceive ideas, but to perceive that he perceives, and to transfer his perceptions to others’ minds through words. (Albert Einstein)

Introduction: Premises
 Language

is a social instrument for relating to other people.  Human speech acting has to be set in a context in order to be valid.  Language uttered in a live context is a process of mutual consensus between the participants. Conclusion: The relational nature of the human condition is the sine qua non of any occasion of spoken communication.
Emilia Placintar - The relational dimension of work-related talk 2

relational goals were seen as entirely separate from transactional goals and as characterizing two different kinds of talk.Transactional and relational goals Language has a content component and a relationship component the transactional (information-transferring) and the interactional (maintenance of relationships) functions Note Traditionally.The relational dimension of work-related talk 3 . Emilia Placintar .

The relational dimension of work-related talk 4 .Transactional and relational goals Koester (2006): a multiple goals approach to discourse = incorporation of relational aspects of talk into the study of workplace discourse Argument: Building or maintenance of relationships cannot be considered purposeless as relational talk can contribute to task achievement. Emilia Placintar .

Functions of relational talk Q: What are people trying to achieve when they use language with a relational orientation? A: Manifestations of relational goals often involve the notion of politeness or facework. Politeness – a social /contextual judgement.The relational dimension of work-related talk 5 . a question of appropriateness Emilia Placintar . Politeness theory – relevant to interpersonal communication as it involves a consideration of the effect of what we say and how we say it on other people.

1972) Face: an individual‟s “positive social value”.The relational dimension of work-related talk 6 .Theoretical politeness models: Goffman (1967. “an image of self delineated in terms of approved social attributes” (1967: 5). Facework: a) defensive b) protective Politeness strategies: a) avoidance of face threatening acts (FTA) b) use of redressive strategies Emilia Placintar .

The relational dimension of work-related talk 7 . social distance (D) and weight of imposition (W) in a certain context Emilia Placintar . C. P. and S.Theoretical politeness models: Brown. Levinson (1987)  Face: “the public self-image that every member wants to claim for himself”  Speaker and Addressee: endowed with positive face (want for acceptance/involvement) and negative face (want for independence)  Linguistic strategies (in performing FTAs): associated with a particular politeness system described in terms of power difference (P).

The relational dimension of work-related talk 8 .Rapport Management (RM) Spencer-Oatey. 2000 General presentation:  seeks to explain how language is used to manage relationships  RM = management of FACE + management of SOCIALITY RIGHTS = more of a balance between SELF and OTHER than Brown &Levinson‟s politeness model Emilia Placintar .

etc. competence. appearance. identity.  Quality face (QF) = sense of personal esteem: a fundamental desire to be evaluated positively in terms of our personal qualities (competence.Rapport Management – Conceptual issues ASPECTS of FACE Face = associated with personal/social values: sense of worth. abilities. dignity.The relational dimension of work-related talk 9 . reputation. honour.  Identity face (IF) = sense of public worth: a fundamental desire for people to acknowledge and uphold our social or group identities and roles Emilia Placintar . etc).

consideration.The relational dimension of work-related talk 10 . etc. social inclusion/exclusion.RM: Conceptual issues SOCIALITY RIGHTS (SRs)  defined as “fundamental personal/social entitlements that individuals effectively claim for themselves in their interactions with others”  concerned with people‟s personal/social expectancies of fairness. Emilia Placintar .

RM: Conceptual issues ASPECTS of SOCIALITY RIGHTS (1) Equity rights (ERs): a fundamental belief that we are entitled to personal consideration and fair treatment from/by others Equity entitlement – two components:  the notion of cost-benefit  the related notion of autonomy-imposition Emilia Placintar .The relational dimension of work-related talk 11 .

RM: Conceptual issues ASPECTS of SOCIALITY RIGHTS (2) Association rights (ARs):  a fundamental belief that we are entitled to an association with others in keeping with the type of relationship we have with them  relate to interactional association/dissociation (the type and extent of our involvement with others) affective association/dissociation (the extent to which we share concerns.The relational dimension of work-related talk 12 . feelings and interests) Emilia Placintar .

The relational dimension of work-related talk 13 . B&L‟s face) negative face) Identity face Association rights Emilia Placintar . B&L‟s positive (cf.Rapport Management: Components (summary) Face management Personal/ Independent perspective Social/ Interdependent perspective Sociality rights management Quality face Equity rights (cf.

The relational dimension of work-related talk 14 .Rapport-threatening behaviour  through face-threatening behaviour: when we feel we have lost credibility or have been personally devalued  through rights-threatening behaviour ● Equity rights: when we feel sb has no right to expect us to do sth ● (Dis)Association rights: when sb speaks to us in a way that is too personal (distant) for our liking Emilia Placintar .

Rapport Management: Interrelated domains 1) Speech acts domain: rapport threatening / enhancing implications of performing speech acts 2) Discourse domain: discourse content and discourse structure 3) Participation domain: procedural aspects 4) Stylistic domain: choice of tone. eye contact. proxemics. vocalics. etc. Emilia Placintar . etc. These issues need to be handled appropriately if harmonious relations are to be created / maintained. 5) Non-verbal domain: gestures. terms of address or use of honorifics. of genre-appropriate lexis and syntax.The relational dimension of work-related talk 15 .

 Hedges and intensifiers  Vague language Emilia Placintar .  deals with degrees of obligation or necessity to perform acts.Expressing interpersonal meaning (Koester 2006) 1. Commitment and detachment  Modality  concerned with degrees of commitment to the truth of a proposition.The relational dimension of work-related talk 16 .

The relational dimension of work-related talk 17 . showing interest. involves the expression of mutuality and common ground  Linguistic strategies: claiming common ground. sympathy. etc. solidarity Politeness: concerned with redressing or avoiding face threatening acts  Linguistic strategies: indirectness and distancing devices used to soften and hedge propositions Solidarity: refers to the affective dimension of interpersonal relations. Language and affect Politeness vs. approval. the use of in-group language and colloquialisms Emilia Placintar .Expressing interpersonal meaning 2..

Evaluative language Evaluation:  refers to the speaker‟s judgments of goodness or desirability  belongs to the domain of „affective stance‟  encoded lexically through adjectives.Expressing interpersonal meaning 3. adverbs. nouns and verbs  !!! can be an integral part of the accomplishment of a task Emilia Placintar .The relational dimension of work-related talk 18 .

The relational dimension of work-related talk 19 .  Evaluative meanings are often negotiated in naturally occurring discourse processes. stable meanings.Expressing interpersonal meaning 3. Emilia Placintar . Other interpersonal markers  Tense  Prosodic and paralinguistic features  Interactive devices  echoing  co-operative turn-construction  non-intrusive overlaps Notes  Interpersonal markers cannot be assumed to have fixed.

to what they are actually saying and how they are saying it reflect on how the choice of language both defines and is determined by personal relationships. collaborative dialogue and communication adaptability Emilia Placintar .The relational dimension of work-related talk 20 .Conclusions The integration of the relational component in a communication course will enable students to      attend to the other. and cultural assumptions view language as social reality perform appropriate speech functions in social context be sensitized to the need for such operational skills in intercultural communication as face management. i.e. social conventions.

 Spencer-Oatey. E. and S.Bibliography  Brown.  Goffman. 1978/1987. E. pp. 11-46. 2000. (Ed. Spence-Oatey.The relational dimension of work-related talk 21 . In H. Cluj-Napoca: EFES. 2004. Chicago: Aldine. Emilia Placintar . Applications to Business Communication. P. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Culturally Speaking: Managing Rapport Through Talk Across Cultures. Rapport management: A framework for analysis. Levinson.C. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-face Behaviour. 1967.  Plăcintar. 69-84. pp. A Pragmatic Approach to Conversation Analysis.). H. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. London: Continuum.

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