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Quantifying Cross-Cultural Professional Communication
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Eric Friginal is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL and Director of International Programs at the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University. He specializes in applied corpus linguistics, intercultural communication, variationist sociolinguistics, technology and language teaching, and the analysis of spoken professional discourse. His books include “The Language of Outsourced Call Centers: A Corpus-Based Study of Cross-Cultural Communication” (John Benjamins Publishing Co.) “Corpus-Based Sociolinguistics: A Guide for Students” (Routledge, with Jack A. Hardy), “Talking at Work: Corpus-Based Explorations of Workplace Discourse” (Palgrave, in press, co-edited with Lucy Pickering and Shelley Staples), “Corpus Linguistics for English Teachers” (Routledge, in press), and “Learner Talk: Exploring Spoken English Learner Language Using Corpora” (Palgrave, expected 2017 with Joseph Lee, Brittany Polat, and Audrey Roberson).


This paper examines frequency-based linguistic distributions from specialized corpora of English cross-cultural professional communication in interactional domains such as outsourced call centers, health care, global aviation, and the multicultural workplace. I utilize a framework of corpus-based (critical) discourse analysis in exploring the discursive practices across the cultural structures and task dimensions of these domains, focusing especially upon speakers’ understanding of identities, role-relationships, and power dynamics at work. An iterative cycle which combines computational approaches to data extraction and analyses, and a progression of stages involving quantitative and interpretive techniques (Baker et al., 2008; Biber, 1988; Gentil, 2013) shows how the structure and function of professional cross-talk can be described and explained using evidence from corpora. Pedagogical implications and ideas for materials production for learners in the classroom and professionals in training programs will be discussed.

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