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Professional Communication

Professional Communication: Collaboration between Academics and Practitioners

Winnie Cheng
Kenneth C. C Kong
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Professional Communication
    Book Description:

    Professional Communication presents ten studies of communication practices in a variety of professional contexts. By drawing on diverse methodologies from fields such as conversation analysis, intercultural communication, and organizational studies, the essays here examine how language is constructed, managed, and consumed in various professional situations, ranging from academic settings to business negotiations. One important theme of the book is its emphasis on the collaboration between researchers and professionals. The contributors strongly believe that such collaborative partnership will provide direct implications for improving workplace communication and enhance better understanding of the construction of professional identity and organizational behaviour.   This book will appeal to not only scholars and researchers in discourse analysis, intercultural communication and professional studies, but also practitioners in the related fields and disciplines.

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-67-7
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction

    • 1 Intercultural Professional Communication: Approaches and Issues
      (pp. 3-16)
      Kenneth C. C. Kong and Winnie Cheng

      As a result of globalization and the internalization of trade and information, intercultural communication has become an increasingly significant topic. This is especially the case in professional communication, because participants in professional communication have to draw on more sophisticated and transdisciplinary frameworks in order to get their jobs done. Even the communication among professional peers themselves is far from smooth and straightforward, and is mediated by participants from different cultural backgrounds with different assumptions. As Gottis (2004, 10) notes in an introduction to a monograph on intercultural professional communication, ‘domain-specific languages are prone to the pressures of intercultural variation, as...

  6. Part One: Methodological and Conceptual Issues

    • 2 Business Communication across Cultures: A Theoretical Perspective
      (pp. 19-30)
      Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini

      The challenges of intercultural encounters, especially in professional and business settings (Roberts, Sarangi and Moss 2004, Roberts, Moss, Wass, Sarangi and Jones 2005; Spencer-Oatey and Xing 2003; Poncini 2004; Tanaka 2006), demand a re-examination of taken-for-granted concepts and frameworks which, individually taken, are inadequate to interpret often complex interactions.

      In recent years, research in intercultural communication in business has continued to grow within and beyond Europe (e.g. Poncini 2004; Neumann 1997; Grindsted 1997), as witnessed in the work of Clyne (1994) and Marriott (1997) in Australia; of Yamada (1997), Emmett (2003) and Tanaka (2006) in Japan; Nair-Venugopal (2001, 2003) in...

    • 3 Professional Communicative Competences: Four Key Industries in Hong Kong
      (pp. 31-50)
      Winnie Cheng

      As a result of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China on 1 July 1997, the government of Hong Kong SAR has changed its language policy to ‘develop a civil service which is biliterate in English and Chinese and trilingual in English, Cantonese and Putonghua’ (Bolton 2002, 35). Starting in the 1998 school year, over 70 percent of the government and government-aided secondary schools in Hong Kong were required to adopt mother-tongue (Cantonese) teaching. English, however, is still preferred as the medium of instruction by many people and still enjoys a higher status as the working language of...

  7. Part Two: Professional Communication in the Asia-Pacific Region

    • 4 A Genre Analysis of the Strategic Plans of Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong and the United States of America
      (pp. 53-70)
      Ammy Yuen Yee Chan

      Strategic planning in both private and public sectors is very important. It is ‘a process of collective and informed decision making that (a) helps management and leadership teams position their enterprise for lasting competitive success and (b) helps these teams intelligently implement changes to their processes, systems, and structure’ (Mazza 2003). It is a process designed to support leaders in being intentional about their goals and methods. The main purpose of strategic planning is to provide a basic overview of an organization’s vision and mission, future business plan and a set of goals to be achieved in the coming years...

    • 5 Gender and Professional Communication: The Role of Feminine Style in Multilingual Workplaces
      (pp. 71-92)
      Hiroko Itakura

      Since the pioneering study on women’s language by Lakoff (1975), a great number of studies have been conducted on women’s style of speaking and the difference from men’s, especially in relation to English. One general claim widely made in the 1980s and 1990s was that women were more co-operative conversationalists and more sensitive to the face-wants of others (Maltz and Borker 1982; Coates 1996; Holmes 1995; Tannen 1990).

      While there has been controversy as to whether there is such an entity as ‘women’s language’, spoken by all and only by women, the notion of women’s language has become a popular...

    • 6 Indirect Requests in Korean Business Correspondence
      (pp. 93-112)
      Yeonkwon Jung

      Politeness is of crucial importance in performing a goal-oriented activity, such as business (e.g. in looking for a buyer, making the buyer respond favourably to sales letters, or having the buyer purchase the product for sale). If a seller is not polite to a buyer, the buyer is unlikely to react in a favourable way to what the seller requests. Furthermore, politeness may help both parties build trust and respect in order to maintain long-term business relationships. In this respect, politeness is seen as a necessary avenue for establishing a productive business atmosphere. The present study investigates how Korean business...

    • 7 Interactions of Professional, Institutional and Business Discourses in Academic Settings
      (pp. 113-130)
      Kenneth C. C. Kong

      The two short conversations above highlight the complexity of our identities in interaction: we can belong to both an institution and a profession. This multiple membership causes confusion at times, not only at the level of our daily lives but also at the level of analysis and methodologies involved in considering so-called ‘professional discourse’ and ‘institutional discourse’. Professional discourse has always been taken as language used by ‘professionals’, such as lawyers, doctors, and engineers. However, this definition should be extended in light of the current need to give meaning to contemporary professions. Gee et al. (1996, 1) call this need...

    • 8 Linguistic Features and Writer’s Stance in Investigation Reports
      (pp. 131-148)
      Priscilla Leung

      This chapter aims to explore the issues of writing a successful text. To qualify for the claim, writers of professional discourses have to achieve their communicative purposes, which function to describe, inform, instruct or persuade. Are writers unself-conscious? Is there any interrelationship between the writers’ choice of lexis and grammar and their stance expressed in the texts? How is the stance expressed? Are readers of different text-types more attracted to certain lexis and grammar? If the stance is related to specific linguistic features, can a writer tune some of the texts to be better received than the others?

      As we...

    • 9 Theoretical Interpretations of Questions and Power Relations
      (pp. 149-170)
      Jinjun Wang

      Questions have long been recognized by linguists as a potentially powerful device in casual conversation and, in particular, in institutional dialogue. Although linguists have realized questions and power relations, no literature has been concerned with the theoretical exploration of questions as a possible powerful tool in conversation and dialogue. This chapter undertakes to discuss questions and power relations from three theoretical orientations: social semiotics, social cognition and psychology, and systemic-functional linguistics. It is shown that, in social semiotics, questions are regarded as social semiotic acts and the context of questioning conveys power and solidarity. In social psychology and cognition, the...

  8. Part Three: Professional Communication in Other Regions

    • 10 Improving the Quality of Governmental Documents: A Combined Academic and Professional Approach
      (pp. 173-190)
      Jan Renkema

      Governmental miscommunication does not necessarily occur more often than miscommunication in institutions like law or health care (Martindale et al. 1992; Sarangi and Slebrouck 1996; Renkema 2003). However, governmental problems with officialese and bureaucratese seem more serious, because all members of a society are confronted several times a year with official documents; hence the popularity of actions like plain language movements and the many attempts to redesign governmental forms and letters. But until now, the results of governmental attempts at plain language have been more or less disappointing. For example, over the past twenty years, in The Netherlands, at least...

    • 11 Politeness, Power and Control: The Use of Humour in Cross-cultural Telecommunications
      (pp. 191-210)
      Hans J. Ladegaard

      Humour serves a variety of functions in discourse. The obvious function is sheer entertainment: people incorporate in their discourse humorous elements — such as jokes, or puns, riddles or funny stories —in order to amuse and entertain. Research on same-sex talk, for example, has found that young male speakers often use ‘competitive humour’ (current speaker has to outdo previous speaker in telling jokes or narratives which are perceived as funnier), the function of which is to entertain and compete for the upper hand in the group (see Holmes 2006; Ladegaard, forthcoming a). Another obvious function of humour is solidarity; humour is...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 211-214)
  10. References
    (pp. 215-238)
  11. Index
    (pp. 239-244)