This is the second issue of Griffith Working Papers in Pragmatics and Intercultural Communication. This publication features select work by undergraduate and Honours students in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University enrolled in courses on pragmatics and intercultural communication. We believe that this work deserves a wider audience as it involves original data collection and analysis. Indeed, many of these topics have received scant attention in the literature so far.
In this issue, the focus is on the ethnopragmatics of Australian English, in particular, cultural keywords, speech patterns and norms of interaction. Although English is the most widely studied second/foreign language in the world and is regularly used by more than a billion speakers, the study of differences in the ways varieties of English are used is only just emerging. This issue makes a modest contribution in that direction.
Australian and Chinese perceptions of (im)politeness in an intercultural apology
Author: Wei-Lin Chang
Wei‐lin Chang has graduated with Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Languages and Applied Linguistics from Griffith University. Her research interests include intercultural communication and pragmatics. Her present main study field is to investigate the issues of cross‐cultural communication between speakers of Chinese and English.
This study aims to explore the variables in perceptions of (im)politeness in an intercultural apology, focusing on discussion of the cultural and gender differences. Through the study’s instrument, a conversation between an Australian and a Taiwanese Chinese speaker, the study suggests that there are indeed some differences in perceptions of (im)politeness across different cultural groups, since the participants from these two backgrounds tend to use distinctive strategies to make apologies. The study’s findings indicate that the cultural factor is more influential in the perceptions of (im)politeness than the gender factor. The gender differences found in these perceptions require further investigation with a bigger sample. Regarding the cultural factor, a polite apology perceived by Australian speakers emphasises expressions of friendliness in the interaction, whereas a polite apology perceived by Taiwanese speakers focuses on showing chengyi ‘sincerity’ from the apologiser towards the recipient. Specifically, the study’s implication is that different perceptions of (im)politeness may result in communication breakdown or misunderstanding and thus may bring up the awareness of cultural differences in intercultural communication. Based on the empirical data from the native informants, the study concludes that the perception of (im)politeness is culturally determined, indicating the significance of the appreciation of cultural difference in order to avoid communication breakdown.
"Ah, excuse me...I like your shirt": An examination of compliment responses across gender by Australians
Author: Briallen Davis
Briallen Davis graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics in 2007. Majoring in Spanish and Linguistics but also having studied Japanese and Italian, Briallen hopes to study abroad to improve her language skills and eventually become a professional interpreter.
This paper examines compliment response across gender within Australia and also the likelihood of males perceiving a compliment as flirtatious. Compliment response was gathered by approaching strangers under the premise of needing directions and then concluding the exchanges with a compliment on appearance. Participants were soon re‐ approached by a second person who asked them to fill out a brief survey which included four 7‐point Likert‐type scales, one specifically pertaining to the ‘innocence’ or ‘flirty‐ ness’ of the compliment. Australian speakers of English were found to use acceptance tokens in all cases when responding to the non‐intimate compliment. The majority of men surveyed were also found to perceive the compliment as neither ‘flirtatious’ nor ‘innocent.’ However, this may indicate the men were simply reluctant to rate the compliment as ‘flirtatious’ given the negative connotations associated with the adjective in certain contexts.
Humour in British Paint Advertisements
Author: Gwenaelle Anne Gaelle Roux
Gwenaëlle Anne Gaëlle Roux is an undergraduate student of Griffith University, currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics, with International Business as an option.
This study explores a research model concerning humour in British print advertisements. The findings of this study suggest that humour is a relevant means used by industries to achieve commercial effectiveness. It is argued that humour can be depicted as a challenge framework, specific to a particular culture. The paper also tries to demonstrate the importance and outcomes of humour response in the British audience. To do so, the paper reviews different types of humour mechanisms and the enabling factors used to decode the humour mirth. The aim of this study is to comprehend to which extent mechanisms are used to trigger the humorous challenge in British print advertisements. Finally, the paper analyses the primary type of humour that is recurrent in British print advertisements. It is hoped that this study will draw further attention to the importance of the British audience’s judgment as well as provide a contrasting analysis between British citizens and other citizens from the Commonwealth.
What is multiculturalism?
Author: Kirsty Knight
Kirsty Knight has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics majoring in Spanish, and intends to continue with further studies.
Integration and immigration are currently extremely contentious issues in both the Australian political arena and the media. In line with these hot topics that flood the daily news, it makes sense to throw more limelight on the term ‘multiculturalism’. The focal point of the issue is the question of what has happened to the term. Once the buzzword of the political world of the 1990s, multiculturalism seems to have lost its influence in Australia over the last few years, due to changes in policy and by the increasing focus on ‘integration’ by governments. To find out what everyday Anglo‐ Australians think about multiculturalism and the current issues that surround it, seven interviews were conducted. The results revealed that the participants had many beliefs, perceptions, presuppositions, values and norms relating to multiculturalism. Although multiculturalism is overtly inclusive, what came through the views expressed were traces of implicit exclusionary discourse.
Exploring the acculturation of Taiwanese students in an Australian University: English self-confidence, wellbeing and friendships
Author: Alina Sullivan
Alina Sullivan is a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts in Languages and Applied Linguistics. Her interests lie in the areas of discourse analysis and intercultural communication studies. Her linguistic repertoire includes Russian, Romanian, English, French and Spanish languages and she shares a great interest in learning about different cultures and different languages around the world.
Within the expanding international tertiary sector in Australia, the main objective of University policies is the successful acculturation and integration of international students. However, studies have shown that there is a lack or a very low level of interaction between students of South and East Asian background and local students. This paper discusses the problem of acculturation of Taiwanese students in Australian Universities, focusing upon the areas of psychological adjustment and social networking. Moreover, the study explores the connections between perceived English fluency, self‐esteem, disempowerment, wellbeing, and friendships between international students and local students, as well as amongst international students. In total, 21 Taiwanese participants completed a questionnaire. The results have confirmed the validity of the identified area of psychological adjustment as being salient in the process of acculturation and social cohesion of Taiwanese students. Analysis of the data also shows that the levels of English self‐assessment, self‐esteem and friendships are lower for Taiwanese students in their interactions with local students as opposed to their interactions with non‐native speaker students. However, there was a strong tendency revealed among the participants to form more meaningful friendships with Australians.
Dr Michael Haugh
Michael Haugh is a Lecturer convening the International English program in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. His main research interests include pragmatics and intercultural communication. He has published work in the Journal of Pragmatics, Intercultural Pragmatics, Pragmatics, Multilingua, Journal of Politeness Research, and Discourse, and is co-editing a forthcoming bookFace, Communication and Social Interaction (Equinox), as well as editing a special issue on 'Intention in pragmatics' for Intercultural Pragmatics (2008).
Dr Susana Eisenchlas
Susana Eisenchlas is a Senior Lecturer convening the Linguistics program in the School of Languages and Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Her Doctoral Dissertation was in the area of syntactic theory and first language acquisition. She also conducts research and publishes in the area of internationalisation of the curriculum and the teaching of intercultural communication from a linguistic perspective. She is co-editor of the book Australian Perspectives on Internationalising Education (2003).