Invitations as collaborative work?: A contrastive politeness research in British English and Japanese from a pragmatic-discursive approach

Matsukawa, Chisa (2019) Invitations as collaborative work?: A contrastive politeness research in British English and Japanese from a pragmatic-discursive approach. In: 12th International Conference on (Im)politeness, 17-19 July 2019, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

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The purpose of this paper is to provide further empirical evidence on how analysing speech acts in situated interaction may offer wider information that may advance our understanding of politeness in Cross-Cultural Pragmatics (CCP). In CCP, studies (Félix-Brasdefer, 2008, 2015) have investigated speech act sequences in interaction from a discursive approach. Building on previous CCP research, the present study investigates the negotiation of invitations, particularly in ‘invitation base sequences’ (Schegloff, 2007), as a manifestation of ‘rapport management’ (Spencer-Oatey, 2008) in a symmetrical invitation-refusal situation performed by 20 female native speakers of British English and 20 female native speakers of Japanese. Open role plays (Kasper, 2008) were employed and analysed from a pragmatic-discursive approach (Félix-Brasdefer, 2015). Utilising an adapted version of CA, where concepts of ‘turn-constructional units (TCUs)’ (Schegloff, 2007) and Iwasaki’s (Iwasaki, 2009, 2015) TCU framework for Japanese are employed, the qualitative analysis of the role-play data revealed cross-cultural variation in terms of sequential patterns. The British invitation sequences were deployed as either solo by the inviter or collaborative work by the inviter and invitee, where invitee’s positive assessment for the invitation is provided (‘positive assessment collaborative work’). On the other hand, Japanese invitation base sequences were only found to be deployed as collaborative work including ‘positive assessment collaborative work’ and ‘aizuchi collaborative work’ where Japanese response tokens known as aizuchi are provided. Micro-level sequential analysis of the aizuchi collaborative work revealed collaboration by the participants within a TCU, which will be discussed in relation to the Japanese concepts of sasshi (anticipatory work) and omoiyari (providing something beneficial for the person based on the results of the anticipatory work (Travis, 1998)). Also, differences were identified in the British and Japanese positive assessment collaborative work. The Japanese data suggested that a question-answer sequence projected by the invitee can be inserted in the announcement-assessment sequences. The identified interactional strategy will be discussed in relation to politeness.

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