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Zur Funktion von Metakommunikation in der dialogischen Konstruktion von Alterität

Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 253
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The paper aims at describing forms and functions of metacommunicative acts which become relevant in an elicited conversation between five German students on their expectations about cultural differences they might face regarding their upcoming semester abroad. In order to initiate and maintain the conversation, stimulus cards inquired the students’ expectations regarding possible differences with respect to university, family, friendship, romantic relationships, communication, and society. The results revealed that metacommunicative acts were frequently employed as strategies to construct, reflect, and question cultural key concepts coming to the fore as a stock of knowledge at hand. By means of descriptions and classifications of metacommunicative acts originating from text linguistics as well as conversation analysis I will show that metacommunicative acts can by no means be simply reduced to their prototypical function of supporting comprehension or organizing discourse but often serve to calibrate evaluations, as well as to save face in multimodal ways. The German students show high preference for the use of explicit metacommunicative cues in order to immediately relativize utterances that could be interpreted as belonging to a cultural-essentialist view. Such multilayered reflexive processes (re-)entering the communication process itself also direct the attention to the bystander behind the camera.