Mediated Business Interactions

Mediated Business Interactions: Intercultural Communication Between Speakers of Spanish

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Mediated Business Interactions
    Book Description:

    The first book to examine mediated institutional talk in Spanish.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3721-8
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-21)

    In this book I explore the activities that human beings, in their roles of service providers and customers, engage in to supply and demand a service over the phone. I look at the way in which language, understood as a cultural tool, mediates action and how this, in turn, reflects socio-cultural practices.

    Wertsch (1991) argued that ‘[H]uman action typically employs “mediational means” such as tools and language, and that these means shape the action in essential ways’ (p. 12). Thus, for Wertsch, all human actions are mediated. Drawing on this idea, Scollon (1998) proposed that ‘[M]ediated action is the site...

  6. 2 Methodology
    (pp. 22-38)

    The data for this book come from the Latin American call centre operation of a multinational holiday exchange company, which is run along similar lines to time shares organisations worldwide. Clients of the company own or have the right to use a property, typically a holiday resort unit overseas or at a resort in their country of abode, for an allotted period of time, generally one to two weeks and almost always at the same time every year.

    Membership of the company entails a yearly fee. In return for this, clients deposit their allotted period of time at their holiday...

  7. 3 Openings
    (pp. 39-79)

    In this chapter, I provide an analysis of the sequences found in the openings of the inbound and outbound calls, using Zimmerman’s (1984, 1992) model as a point of departure. It will be recalled that the calls in question are non-emergency calls, that is, they are calls in which a telephone agent aims to sell a specific commodity, in this case a holiday unit, to a (prospective) client. Given the more negotiable nature of the institutional setting examined and the fact that, in most cases, there is, or has been, an existing relationship between the client and the company, the...

  8. 4 The Negotiation of the Business Exchange
    (pp. 80-135)

    In Chapter 3 I examined the ways in which the relationship between the conversational participants is (re-)established at the onset of the calls. I did so by analysing the opening sequences of the telephone conversations. In this chapter, I will turn my attention to the communicative activities participants engage in after the opening is achieved and before they bring the conversation to a close. This chapter will thus look at the middles (Hopper 1992) of the calls. These are also known, and perhaps more appropriately termed in the light of the data examined in this book, as the negotiation of...

  9. 5 Closings
    (pp. 136-163)

    In this chapter, I examine the sequences found in the closings of the inbound and outbound calls. I draw on Button’s (1987) taxonomy of the English archetype closing, given that these calls were procedurally closed in much the same way. The analysis demonstrates that the participants engage in very similar activities to those observed in the closings of other languages, in particular those of English. The data do not show any differences in the ways in which inbound and outbound call closings were achieved whether the main goal of the calls was to complain about the service, make a service...

  10. 6 Some Final Reflections: Towards an Understanding of Intercultural Communication in Spanish
    (pp. 164-187)

    In the foregoing chapters I have examined the various activities that conversationalists from different Spanish-speaking regions perform in order to supply and demand a service in a modern mediated interactional environment. These activities are mediated by the technological medium which constitutes them, that is, the telephone, and by means of the language that unites them: Spanish. The analysis has demonstrated that, in spite of the relative recentness of telephone service provision in real time, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and the varieties of Spanish spoken by the participants, the core activities that the participants engaged in are...

  11. Appendix: Transcription Conventions
    (pp. 188-188)
  12. References
    (pp. 189-195)
  13. Index
    (pp. 196-200)