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Title: The dynamics of institutional discourse : an intercultural perspective.
Author: Sarangi, Srikant K.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2434 6100
Awarding Body: University of Lancaster
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 1990
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The present study is an attempt to understand migrant workers' language behaviour in the Native Speaker-Non-Native Speaker (NS-NNS) contact situation. More specifically, it examines face-to-face encounters between first generation Asian migrants and British bureaucrats in two institutional settings - selection interviews and social service encounters. The data source mainly consists of transcripts of video-recordings of actual interactions. Structurally, as well as thematically, the thesis broadly falls into three parts. Part I (chapters 1-4) provides a background to the study and covers the sociocultural dimensions of the migrant situation; the linguistic environment surrounding the migrant workers; a sociological perspective on their interaction with British bureaucrats in institutional settings; and finally, a brief account of the methodological choices made for data acquisition and data treatment. Part II (chapters 5-8) constitutes the core of the thesis and presents an in-depth analysis of migrant workers' participation in institutional discourse involving British bureaucrats. In pointing out that in the institutional setting, language behaviour is necessarily context-specific, this part goes further and seeks various ways of explaining mismatches in the NS-NNS contact situation. It raises the fundamental question: are these mismatches always caused by non-native speakers' culturally determined discourse styles? The main focus here is on the problematic character of various interpretative and explanatory frameworks with particular reference to the NS-NNS contact situation. In this part of the thesis, theoretical premises underlying the pragmatics of "communication in context" - namely, activity types and prototypes - are reassessed in order to account adequately for the dynamic nature of institutional discourse. The two major arguments are as follows: firstly, all activity types are not sealed categories and therefore the fuzzy edges which differentiate one activity type from another need to be given attention in our analytical frameworks; and secondly, because the same discourse routines can occur within different activity types, there is a need to highlight the differential functions that such discourse routines are seen as serving in different activity types. Part III (chapters 9-11) stresses the need to recognise the wider societal context - NS-NNS discourse as asymmetrical communication and NS-NNS discourse as intercultural communication - in order to examine the relationship between participants' perceptions and the occurrence of "misinterpretation". As a conclusion, chapter 12 suggests that, rather than rely on radically distinct analytical frameworks for examining "migrant speech" and thereby in fact reinforcing cultural and linguistic stereotypes, NS-NNS discourse should be studied along the same lines as other kinds of discourse.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Asian workers in the UK & language problems