We shall see: the use of English as a Lingua Franca and the effects of visibility during collaborative tasks in an online video conference

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International businesses are increasingly faced with challenges connected to employees working remotely or from home. These organisations continuously encounter situations in which individuals who speak different languages and have varying cultural backgrounds need to communicate by videoconferencing. In many of those cases, a common shared language and other accommodating strategies are adapted to smoothen this process. The successfulness of interactions is for example mediated by phenomena like syntactic alignment and priming. In certain circumstances, these influence and are in turn influenced by factors like communicative success, prosocialness and likeability. In the present study, the effects of visibility and English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) speakers’ linguistic background with regard to aforementioned variables, is further investigated in the setting of an online Zoom meeting. Subjects took part in an experiment in which they performed a collaborative spot-thedifference task and subsequently evaluated their partners and the outcomes of their joint effort. While the results were generally in line with hypotheses, the only significant difference was found within the effects of visibility on perceived communicative success. When participants were able to see their interlocutor, they rated their communication as more successful than the pairs in the non-visible group did. So it appears usage of a camera in online interactions could positively influence the prospect of positive outcomes of communication efforts.
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