Negotiating with vague language: A Chinese perspective
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How and why is vague language ( e.g. ‘many' , 'a bit') used? We explore these questions by investigating the use of vague language as a communicative strategy in Chinese business negotiations. Three elements set this study apart from previous studies: 1) using naturally occurring data; 2) exploring the data from multiple perspectives (lexical, syntactic, sequential, and pragmatic); and 3) including social, cultural factors as relevant parameters in the analysis of vague language. This research finds that vague expressions should be as conventional and effective as non-vague expressions, if not more so. Very often, they are preferable to non-vague expressions because of their greater efficiency and relevance. While vague language is used for a combination of practical and interpersonal purposes, its priority is practical. The ways in which it is mobilized are, to a lesser or greater degree, influenced by the social factors of age, distance, and gender. This is one of the first attempts to study vague language in real-life Chinese business negotiations, and provides insights into vagueness in Chinese language and its implications for effective communication. The findings add an important dimension to the study of vague language and communication in general. This book is a useful resource for academics and postgraduate students engaged in linguistics, language studies, communication and intercultural research; educators and practitioners involved in language teaching, intercultural education, professional training of communication; and general readers who are interested in languages and communication.
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Investigating the use of vague language as a communicative strategy in Chinese business negotiationsZhao, Xiaohua (2010)Chinese has long been perceived as being a hánxù (‘inscrutable’) language with indirect ways of communicating. This study aims to investigate indirectness in Chinese communication by exploring the use of vague language ...
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