Cross-cultural discourse analysis (CCDA)

CCDA consists in comparing texts belonging to the same discourse genre – pre-election speeches, press interviews, corporate self-presentations, etc. – that have been produced by speakers of different mother tongues in their own language or in a lingua franca. Using linguistic categories, the analyst submits the discourse to specialized software allowing a quantitative “deconstruction” and a throrough description of the enunciative, semantic and compositional traits of each of the two sub-corpora. Hypotheses on the representations circulating in the communities that produced the genre can then be inferred. After confirmation is found in literature stemming from other fields of research such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, etc., the links between national culture and language, as it is used can be established.
Applied to corporate communication documents, such analyses can reveal different apprehensions of managerial concepts. Tréguer-Felten (2012) shows for example how French, Chinese, or North-American companies vary as to the proper way to handle one’s customer. Both the substantives and the grammar structures used in the French companies’ discourse position the protagonists in asymmetric postures. Suppliers appear as experts who mentor customers in need of support, assistance and guidance. North-American companies’ discourse also positions suppliers and customers asymmetrically, but customers demand and “customer-driven” suppliers display their willingness to comply. Contrary to both these postures, the protagonists represented in Chinese companies’ discourse are heading for long-term, harmonious relationships and pictured as equal partners evolving hand-in-hand towards success.

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