‘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

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2021-08-30
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en
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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.
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