Interpersonal Positioning in English as a Lingua Franca Interactions  book cover
1st Edition

Interpersonal Positioning in English as a Lingua Franca Interactions

ISBN 9781032083094
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
180 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book offers a critical reflection on interpersonal positioning across both large- and small-scale contexts and highlights the multi-faceted nature of intercultural communication in today’s global world. The volume establishes positioning primarily as the negotiation of interpersonal relationships, and draws on concepts from across disciplines by way of reappraisal before applying them to two specific domains: MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) and private ELF couple interaction. While acknowledging and showcasing the unique features of positioning in these two contexts, Klötzl and Swoboda point to their commonalities by looking at how language and specifically English is used as a communicative resource in lingua franca situations. The book also identifies new directions for future methodological innovations in that it demonstrates how the same interaction can be looked at in methodologically-different ways and how the authors’ own positions projected on to such interaction create an integrated tri-partite perspective on the two domains. Shedding light on interpersonal positioning in different contexts and in turn on global communication more generally, this book will be of particular interest to students and researchers in discourse analysis, pragmatics, computer-mediated communication, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter One

INTRODUCTION: from text to discourse

Why English as a lingua franca?

Why ingame (disembodied) interaction?

Why ELF couple interaction?

Two domains – the same basic issues


Chapter Two







Chapter Three


Communication as "a meaningful whole"

Positioning as polyphony

Bakhtin’s voice

Positioning as Bakhtin’s dialogicality

Positioning Theory

Positioning in the social sciences

Positioning and the face

Positioning as politeness: personal wants and other motivations

Positioning as involvement and independence: pro-social and relational approaches

The co-operative and territorial imperatives


Chapter Four


Methodological issues: "a paradox of irreducible subjectivity"

Research design: triangulated inquiry



Couple 1. Nargiz (Ukrainian) and Dan (French) (C1/ua-fr)

Couple 2. Sue (Israeli) and Henry (Austrian) (C2/il-au)

Couple 3. Sandy (Italian) and Peter (Austrian) (C3/it-au)

Couple 4. Monica (Austrian) and Patrick (Czech) (C4/au-cz)

Couple 5. Anna (Austrian) and Paul (Hungarian) (C5/au-hu)

Ingame data

Third-person data: self-compiled corpus of ingame and out-game interaction

Second-person data: questionnaire

First-person data: critical incident log

Couple data

Third-person data: corpus of couples’ self-recordings

Second-person data: interviews and participants’ comments

First-person data: the researcher’s diary and field notes

Summary and conclusion

Chapter Five

DISEMBODIED COMMUNICATION: Positioning in computer-mediated gaming discourse


MMORPGs and its communication

Communication channels and their functions

Aspects and challenges

Places and positions in gaming

The gamers' motivations

Finding place and assigning place

Ingame positioning

LFG (Looking for group) sequences: finding help and grouping ingame



Wiping: the death of all party members


Chapter Six

A LOVE AFFAIR WITH ELF: positioning as interpersonal dynamics in ELF couple discourse


"What מאמי /mami/?": achieving meaning in couple talk

"Schatzi what does your mother do there eigentlich": use of language to the pragmatic effect of togetherness

"This dog is a topic": ‘others’ as interactional resource in the process of establishing coupleness

"Lustig mein mann ist": intertextuality as an interactive resource in ELF couple talk

"Mucho bueno": achieving ‘coupleness’ through representational function of couples’ ELF

Conclusion: ELF as "refuge in this little world of ours"

Chapter Seven

CONCLUSION: Positioning as a universal process of human communication


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Svitlana Klötzl received her PhD from the University of Vienna. Her research interests include discourse analysis, English as a lingua franca, applied linguistics, and private couple interaction. Her publications include articles in Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, Discourse and interaction, and a chapter in Globalisation: Myth or Reality?

Birgit Swoboda is a freelance researcher publishing and presenting on language use in computer-games. She studied English Linguistics and History at the University of Vienna and holds a PhD degree (thesis title: L2P n00b – The pragmatics of positioning in MMORPGs). Her research focus is CMC, politeness and positioning theory.