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Managing informal interaction. Stancetaking and alignment in Dutch and Indonesian

On December 13th, Maaike van Naerssen succesfully defended her doctoral thesis and graduated. The Leiden University Centre for Linguistics congratulates Maaike on this great result.

Maaike van Naerssen
13 December 2018
Leiden University Repository


Whenever someone makes a statement, they take stance on what they are talking about. Their utterance presents the propositional content of their message and at the same time shares their position regarding the subject of talk. They convey their support or opposition, affiliation or disaffiliation, their like or dislike of the topic of talk. Subsequent, related, contributions similarly do not only react to the content of the earlier message, but to the associated stance taken by the other participant as well. Every interaction thus requires careful management of both the content discussed and the interpersonal relations between those involved. This dissertation investigates how people manage their informal interactions by means of phatic communicative structures. It explores to what extent the choices made by speakers are cross-linguistically stable or language specific, as differences in conversational style could affect intercultural communication and understanding. Three types of linguistic behavior are addressed: offering support and agreement, reproducing meaning (and form), and collaboratively constructing a single message. The preferences across and within these three types are contrasted for Dutch and Indonesian speakers.

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