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Sociopragmatics encompasses the study of social, interactional, and normative dimensions of language use, while intercultural pragmatics examines how language is used in social interactions between people who have different first languages and are usually considered to represent different cultures. While there are some points of overlap between them, the main aim of intercultural pragmatics is to analyze and theorize how language is used when participants have limited common ground and do not necessarily adhere to L1 preferred ways of speaking. It is thus argued in intercultural pragmatics not only that intercultural encounters are deserving of theorization in their own right, but that theorization in intercultural pragmatics can usefully inform pragmatics more broadly. The aim of this chapter is to consider how research in intercultural pragmatics can inform work in sociopragmatics, and vice versa. Following discussion of the main theoretical foundations of sociopragmatics, a case study examining the openings of first conversations in intercultural settings is used as a springboard to consider the place of sociopragmatics vis-à-vis intercultural pragmatics, and what insights each can bring to the other. The conclusion is that sociopragmatics would benefit from building more explicitly on the important empirical and theoretical insights offered by intercultural pragmatics.
It is increasingly recognised that action ascription is not just a matter of inference, but is a form of social action in its own right. This chapter explores two key implications of this finding. First, in treating action ascription as a social action we have formal grounds for the claim that analyses of action ascription must necessarily include inspection of third positioned actions, as ascribing action is an account-able action in its own right. Second, we have procedural grounds for examining the suppression or avoidance of inferences about the action(s) in question by participants. A collection of instances of ‘offers’ that are occasioned or ‘touched off’ by some prior action, and are variously designed to be heard as such, are analysed in the course of this chapter to provide an empirical anchor for these two theoretical claims.
Action ascription can be understood from two broad perspectives. On one view, it refers to the ways in which actions constitute categories by which members make sense of their world, and forms a key foundation for holding others accountable for their conduct. On another view, it refers to the ways in which we accountably respond to the actions of others, thereby accomplishing sequential versions of meaningful social experience. In short, action ascription can be understood as matter of categorisation of prior actions or responding in ways that are sequentially fitted to prior actions, or both. In this chapter, we review different theoretical approaches to action ascription that have developed in the field, as well as the key constituents and resources of action ascription that have been identified in conversation analytic research, before going on to discuss how action ascription can itself be considered a form of social action.
Bringing together a team of global experts, this is the first volume to focus on the ways in which meanings are ascribed to actions in social interaction. It builds on the research traditions of Conversation Analysis and Pragmatics, and highlights the role of interactional, social, linguistic, multimodal, and epistemic factors in the formation and ascription of action-meanings. It shows how inference and intention ascription are displayed and drawn upon by participants in social interaction. Each chapter reveals practices, processes, and uses of action ascription, based on the analysis of audio and video recordings from nine different languages. Action ascription is conceptualised in this volume as not merely a cognitive process, but a social action in its own right that is used for managing interactional concerns and guiding the subsequent course of social interaction. It will be essential reading for academic researchers and advanced students interested in the relationship between language, behaviour and social interaction.