‘Do you mean… ?’ - Repair strategies in an intercultural business context Differences and non-differences between Hong-Kong Chinese and English speakers concerning the choice of other-initiated repair and the use of letting it pass in service encounters

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Intercultural communication is prone to misunderstandings, perhaps because of cultural differences in perception and expression which lead to friction, even more so than intra-cultural communication. To facilitate mutual understanding, different strategies can be used to address miscommunication. The current study looks at the use of other-initiated repair and letting it pass between Hong-Kong Chinese and English (from the UK, USA, and Australia) speakers. Against this backdrop, the differences are viewed from a collectivist–individualist perspective. Other factors that may also be telling on cultural differences are knowledge and politeness. This study aimed to create a greater understanding of intercultural repair and the potential over-generalization of stereotypical cultural communication models. To do so, it analyzed Corpus-Data and performed a breaching experiment, looking at the use of other-initiated repair and letting it pass. The results do not show the differences in communication assumed by cultural models, however, this is a qualitative study and due to additional limitations, the results found here may also not be fully generalizable. It does however suggest more similarities in communication repair than potentially expected.
Faculteit der Letteren