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April 11 , 2008

The Language of Service Encounters

A Pragmatic-Discursive Approach


Service encounters are ubiquitous in social interaction. We buy food and everyday items in supermarkets, convenience stores, or markets; we purchase merchandise in department stores; or we request information at a visitor information center. This book offers a comprehensive account of service encounters in commercial and non-commercial settings. Grounded in naturally occurring face-to-face interactions and drawing on a pragmatic-discursive approach, J. César Félix-Brasdefer sets out a framework for the analysis of transactional and relational talk in various contexts in the United States and Mexico. This book investigates cross-cultural and intra-lingual pragmatic variation during the negotiation of service. The author provides a broad review of research on service encounters to date, and analyzes characteristics of sales transactions, such as participants' roles, pragmatic and discourse functions of relational talk and address forms, the realization of politeness, and changes in alignment from transactional to relational talk.

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