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Rapport-building activities in corner shop interactions

Placencia, Maria Elena (2004) Rapport-building activities in corner shop interactions. Journal of Sociolinguistics 8 (2), pp. 215-245. ISSN 1360-6441.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2004.00259.x

Abstract

This paper examines a range of interactional activities participants carry out in the course of corner shop transactions in Quito, Ecuador. These activities include: phatic communication exchanges as traditionally conceived, that is, conventionalized forms such as how-are-you and health inquiries; individualized exchanges in the form of conversational work around a range of topics (e.g. politics, health, school); and creative language play activities (e.g. wordplay and linguistic play with names). These activities are described as reflecting participants’ orientation to the maintenance of positive rapport or friendly relations (Aston 1988a) with the effect that the service transaction becomes a pleasant and even an entertaining encounter. Such orientation is described here in relation to the familiarity existing between shopkeepers and customers as a result of frequent contact in the context of the barrio(residential neighbourhoods) in Quito. As such the study lends support, from a different socio-cultural perspective, to recent work in the area that highlights the centrality of phatic communication in task-oriented interactions in English (cf. Coupland 2000a, 2000b, 2003), and brings to the fore a wider range of activities which appear to be employed for rapport-building purposes in service encounters.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): rapport, politeness, service encounters, small talk
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
Depositing User: Dr María Elena Placencia
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2012 09:22
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2014 13:04
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4697

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