'ahh ((laugh)) well there is no comparison between the two I think': How do Hong Kong Chinese and native speakers of English disagree with each other?

Wai Lin Leung, Amy B.M. Tsui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes the management of disagreement found in an intercultural conversational corpus between Hong Kong Chinese (HKC) and native speakers of English (NSE). Cultural differences in value orientations towards the face system and politeness and research on the structural organization and linguistic realizations of dispreferred responses were drawn upon to illuminate the analysis of data. The quantitative findings show that contrary to the stereotypic accounts of Chinese culture, HKC are not at all shy to disagree with their NSE interlocutors. Neither are HKC less likely, if not more likely, to disagree in order to present their different, or alternative, views. However, when they disagree, they are more inclined to address the face-want of both themselves and the addressees by using redressive language and mitigating devices. Qualitative analysis of sequences of disagreements in a conversational excerpt has shown the varying efforts HKC and NSE speakers make to align themselves with the interlocutor to manage interpersonal relationships and negotiate common ground.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2365-2380
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


  • Conversational analysis
  • Disagreement
  • Dispreferred responses
  • Hong Kong Chinese
  • Intercultural communication
  • Native speakers of English
  • Politeness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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