Face and face practices in Chinese talk-in-interaction : a study in interactional pragmatics


Face and face practices in Chinese talk-in-interaction : a study in interactional pragmatics

Wei-Lin Melody Chang

(Pragmatic interfaces)

Equinox, 2015

  • : hardback

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Includes bibliographical references and index



This book addresses the knowledge-gap in the field by focusing on the importance of emic conceptualizations (face1) in theorizing face. Existing research on face has tended to rely on the etic perspective (face2) in theorizing and conceptualizing face. Face and Face Practices in Chinese Talk-in-Interaction applies an interactional pragmatics approach drawing on folk notions and discourse instead of simply describing Chinese in a normative, and thus potentially stereotypical manner. It builds on an analysis of original face-to-face interactional data and employs a combination of methodological approaches to analyze face in business settings. It is the very first study to examine face and face practices in Chinese employing Face Constituting Theory (FCT) as the theoretical framework. In doing so it provides empirical support for the importance of examining the cognitive and the interactional aspects of face practices, as well as providing insightful perspectives on the complex interactional moves that participants employ in managing their interpersonal relationships within business interactions and mediations.In this way, the book addresses key current debates on how face should be conceptualized and theorized. It also demystifies Chinese communication and thereby illuminates some unidentified face practices, both culture-general and cultural-specific.


1. Introduction2. Emic and Etic Perspective on face3. An Interactional Pragmatics Approach to Investigate Face Practices4. Emic Concepts of Face5. Emic Practices of Face: Dyadic Business Interaction vs. Multiparty 6. Demystifying the Face in Chinese: Emerging Themes in Business interactions7. Conclusion

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