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Professional Communication

Collaboration between Academics and Practitioners

Edited by Winnie Cheng ,Kenneth C.C. Kong

Publication Year: 2009

This book presents ten studies of communication practices in a variety of professional contexts. By drawing on diverse methodologies from fields such as conversation analysis, intercultural communication, and organizational studies, the essays here examine how language is constructed, managed, and consumed in various professional situations, ranging from academic settings to business negotiations.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

Professional communication is an emerging area of investigation in many disciplines such as applied linguistics, communication studies, education, and psychology. While these approaches share similarities, researchers working in those traditions tend to downplay the works of colleagues in other disciplines. This is unfortunate, given the...


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pp. xi-xii


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1 - Intercultural Professional Communication: Approaches and Issues

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pp. 3-16

As a result of globalization and the internalization of trade and information, intercultural communication has become an increasingly significant topic. This is especially the case in professional communication, because participants in professional communication have to draw on more sophisticated and transdisciplinary....

Part One - Methodological and Conceptual Issues

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2 - Business Communication across Cultures: A Theoretical Perspective

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pp. 19-30

The challenges of intercultural encounters, especially in professional and business settings (Roberts, Sarangi and Moss 2004, Roberts, Moss, Wass, Sarangi and Jones 2005; Spencer-Oatey and Xing 2003; Poncini 2004; Tanaka 2006), demand a re-examination of taken-for-granted concepts and frameworks which, individually taken, are inadequate to interpret...

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3 - Professional Communicative Competences: Four Key Industries in Hong Kong

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pp. 31-50

As a result of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China on 1 July 1997, the government of Hong Kong SAR has changed its language policy to ‘develop a civil service which is biliterate in English and Chinese and trilingual in English, Cantonese and Putonghua’ (Bolton 2002, 35). Starting in the 1998 school year, over 70 percent of the government...

Part Two - Professional Communication in the Asia-Pacific Region

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4 - A Genre Analysis of the Strategic Plans of Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong and the United States of America

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pp. 53-70

Strategic planning in both private and public sectors is very important. It is ‘a process of collective and informed decision making that (a) helps management and leadership teams position their enterprise for lasting competitive success and (b) helps these teams intelligently implement changes to their processes, systems, and...

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5 - Gender and Professional Communication: The Role of Feminine Style in Multilingual Workplaces

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pp. 71-92

Since the pioneering study on women’s language by Lakoff (1975), a great number of studies have been conducted on women’s style of speaking and the difference from men's, especially in relation to English. One general claim widely made in the 1980s and 1990s was that women were more co-operative conversationalists and more sensitive to the...

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6 - Indirect Requests in Korean Business Correspondence

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pp. 93-112

Politeness is of crucial importance in performing a goal-oriented activity, such as business (e.g. in looking for a buyer, making the buyer respond favourably to sales letters, or having the buyer purchase the product for sale). If a seller is not polite to a buyer, the buyer is unlikely to react in a favourable way to what the seller requests. Furthermore, politeness...

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7 - Interactions of Professional, Institutional and Business Discourses in Academic Settings

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pp. 113-130

The two short conversations above highlight the complexity of our identities in interaction: we can belong to both an institution and a profession. This multiple membership causes confusion at times, not only at the level of our daily lives but also at the level of analysis and methodologies involved in considering so-called ‘professional discourse’ and...

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8 - Linguistic Features and Writer’s Stance in Investigation Reports

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pp. 131-148

This chapter aims to explore the issues of writing a successful text. To qualify for the claim, writers of professional discourses have to achieve their communicative purposes, which function to describe, inform, instruct or persuade. Are writers unself-conscious? Is there any...

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9 - Theoretical Interpretations of Questions and Power Relations

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pp. 149-170

Questions have long been recognized by linguists as a potentially powerful device in casual conversation and, in particular, in institutional dialogue. Although linguists have realized questions and power relations, no literature has been concerned with the theoretical exploration of questions as a possible powerful tool in conversation and...

Part Three - Professional Communication in Other Regions

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10 - Improving the Quality of Governmental Documents: A Combined Academic and Professional Approach

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pp. 173-190

Governmental miscommunication does not necessarily occur more often than miscommunication in institutions like law or health care (Martindale et al. 1992; Sarangi and Slebrouck 1996; Renkema 2003). However, governmental problems with officialese and bureaucratese seem more serious, because all members of a society are confronted several times a year with official documents; hence the popularity of actions like plain...

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11 - Politeness, Power and Control: The Use of Humour in Cross-cultural Telecommunications

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pp. 191-210

Humour serves a variety of functions in discourse. The obvious function is sheer entertainment: people incorporate in their discourse humorous elements — such as jokes, or puns, riddles or funny stories —in order to amuse and entertain. Research on same-sex talk, for...


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pp. 211-214


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pp. 215-238


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pp. 239-242

E-ISBN-13: 9789888052677
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622099654

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2009