Service Encounter Discourse

Marquez Reiter, Rosina and Felix-Brasdefer, J. Cesar (2021). Service Encounter Discourse. In: Haugh, M.; Kadar, D. and Terkourafi, M. eds. The Handbook of Sociopragmatics. Cambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 496–519.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108954105.026

Abstract

Commercial service encounters are broadly defined as everyday interactions in which some kind of commodity, be it goods, information or both, is exchanged between a service provider (e.g. clerk, vendor) and a service seeker (e.g. customer). Previous work has focused primarily on transactional and interpersonal aspects of service encounters, including issues of politeness and intracultural variation in face-to-face, telephone and online contexts. In this chapter, we examine current issues in service encounter discourse. After presenting some key concepts and predominant contexts of service encounters, we provide a critical review of theoretical models used to examine service encounter interaction, explain the distinction between interpersonal and transactional talk and describe some aspects of sociopragmatic variation in service encounter contexts. We end the chapter with a discussion of methodological issues and future directions.

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