A CROSS-CULTURAL PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF ENGLISH AND ARABIC TELEPHONE OPENING STRATEGIES
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Mohammed Nahar Al-Ali
conversation analysis, genre-pragmatic analysis, telephone openings, cross-cultural communication
Our study aims to examine the generic structure of informal telephone conversation openings in Arabic and English and the lexico-grammatical encodings of these pragmatic options. To this end, a corpus of 100 naturally occurring telephone conversation recordings was collected from Americans and Jordanians. The recordings were based on the participants’ personal cell phones with their families and friends. Drawing on Schegloff’s, Pavlidou, and Sun frameworks, the data were analyzed and contrasted for both groups. The results revealed that although the groups of participants come from different cultural backgrounds, they share a set of functional components to structure their telephone openings. However, it was found that there are culture specific functional options like ‘ostensible invitation’ and ‘God-wishes’ that are only used by Jordanians but not utilized by the Americans. Besides, each group uses almost different lexico-grammatical devices, linguistic expressions and stylistic options to articulate the functional strategies. These differences can be attributed to various social and cultural backgrounds of the Jordanian and American native speakers. Such findings will hopefully provide some useful insights for native speakers of both languages regarding the structure of telephone openings and the linguistic expressions used to express them.