Article published in:Intercultural Pragmatics and Cultural Linguistics
Edited by Ulrike Schröder, Milene Mendes de Oliveira and Hans-Georg Wolf
[International Journal of Language and Culture 7:1] 2020
► pp. 63–83
Face and cultural conceptualizations in German-Brazilian business exchanges
Following up on recent calls for studies dealing with first-order understandings of face (Arundale 2013; Haugh 2013), this paper presents arguments in favor of an empirical investigation of cultural conceptualizations (Sharifian 2011) underlying these first-order (or emic) models. The arguments are based on the findings of a study on business communication in international contexts (Mendes de Oliveira 2020). The study comprises the analysis of (a) interviews with business people from different sectors and (b) a compilation of e-mails exchanged by Brazilian and German employees of a healthcare company. I focus specifically on conceptualizations of ‘respect in business negotiations’ (Mendes de Oliveira 2017) as well as on their pragmatic instantiations in e-mails. For instance, the recurrent image schema vertical splitting in the Brazilian interview excerpts on the topic of respect in business negotiations is shown to be pragmatically instantiated in terms of how participants acknowledge ‘hierarchy’ in their construals of face in e-mail interactions. The image schema horizontal splitting is shown to be related to how German participants construe ‘face’ as a transactional phenomenon in the e-mail exchanges. I conclude that cultural conceptualizations play an important role in the Brazilian and German emic models of face. Future studies can take the reflections presented in this paper into consideration in order to strengthen the arguments that favor the inclusion of culturally-based views on face into an overarching theoretical model of face (Arundale 2013).
Keywords: face, Face Constituting Theory, cultural conceptualizations, e-mail communication
Published online: 08 July 2020
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