Exploiting language affordances in Chinese-mediated intercultural communication

Chen, Xi orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2393-532X and Zhu, Weihua (2023) Exploiting language affordances in Chinese-mediated intercultural communication. Intercultural Pragmatics, 20 (5). pp. 495-519. ISSN 1612-295X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2023-5002


In this study, we explore how language affordances are exploited in intercultural communication using the socio-cognitive approach. Based on previous discussions of language affordances, we divide the exploiting practices into three categories, namely, enabling a language affordance, constraining a language affordance, and presenting multiple language affordances. Data were collected from 16 roundtable discussions that took place over four seasons of a Chinese TV program. Each roundtable discussion involved four L1 Chinese speakers and eleven L2 Chinese speakers. The L2 speakers are multilingual, frequently speaking more than one language, including English. A quantitative analysis of the data reveals a collective pattern in the participants’ exploitation of language affordances, that is, they tend to activate more core common-ground knowledge than the knowledge of emergent common ground. In addition, they are inclined to construct multicultural common ground, which they actively align themselves with. Their awareness of communicative goals and self-identification as competent multilingual speakers also influence their choice of language affordances.

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