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Interpersonal harmony and textual coherence in Chinese business interaction

Li, Wei and Zhu, Hua and Li, Y. (2001) Interpersonal harmony and textual coherence in Chinese business interaction. Multilingua: Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communication 20 (3), pp. 285-311. ISSN 0167-8507.

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This paper focuses on the key Chinese cultural concept of ‘harmony’ and investigates how Chinese speakers endeavor to achieve interpersonal harmony in face-to-face interaction. The data on which this study is based comes from a business meeting amongst four native speakers of Mandarin Chinese in Beijing. Through a detailed Conversation Analysis of a sequence from the closing stage of the meeting, we demonstrate the ways in which the Chinese speakers work together to achieve conversational coherence which in turn contributes to the harmonious relationship they aim to build with each other, even though their business interests and objectives may be different. Implications for crosscultural business communication are discussed. ‘I’m astounded by people who want to know the Universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.’ Woody Allen

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
Depositing User: Zhu Hua
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2012 09:34
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:26

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