Pragmatic Features in the Language of Cross-Cultural Virtual Teams: A Roundtable Discussion of Student-to-Student Discourse in International Collaborative Projects

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

See relations at Aarhus University

Birthe Mousten - Lecturer

  • Department of Language and Business Communication

With the rise of a global economy, catalyzed by increasingly sophisticated communication technologies, the formation of cross-cultural virtual teams (CCVTs) has become commonplace. Rarely meeting in person, they are assembled within and between organizations to carry out projects collaboratively by drawing on each team member's expertise (Anawati and Craig, Gibson and Cohen). Under such circumstances, what forms of language succeed at furthering the project's completion? Which forms do not succeed? In particular, which pragmatic features need to be brought to team members' awareness for communication to succeed?


Throughout the current decade, the proposers have built a network of partnerships between U.S. university classes studying writing and editing and European university classes studying translation. Arranged in CCVTs, the students communicate about how best to render their texts traveling between languages and cultures. In a series of publications (Humbley et al.; Maylath et al.; Mousten et al.), several of the proposers have described and analyzed the CCVTs and assumptions lying behind their sometimes-effective, sometimes-bumbling communications with each other. In particular, the texts of their e-mail messages have proven to be a rich source of evidence of  each team member's cultural and linguistic mindset, including humor, imagery, empathy, and interest in the other's culture and language.


This roundtable is aimed to include a range of researchers, educators, and technical documentation practitioners interested in the pragmatic features of the language of CCVTs as a language for the specific purpose of collaboration and in methods for analyzing and teaching this language use among CCVT members.

Emneord: pragmatics technical documentation
18 Aug 2009

Event (Conference)

TitleXVII European Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes - 17-21 August, 2009


  • pragmatics technical documentation

ID: 227783