Chapter published in:Positioning the Self and Others: Linguistic perspectives
Edited by Kate Beeching, Chiara Ghezzi and Piera Molinelli
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 292] 2018
► pp. 81–104
Closeness at a distance
Positioning in Brazilian workplace emails
Social relationships are argued to have a special importance in Brazilian workplaces, as in Brazil generally (Amado and Brasil 1991; Fonseca and Castor 2005; Tanure and Duarte 2005), but scarce attention has been paid to the way such relationships are indexed through language. This research explores the way employees position themselves and others in emails to shape and influence relationships, highlighting how features that are specific to the medium index workplace identities. The analysis of 77 emails from a range of workplaces focuses on phatic aspects occurring frequently in our sample, greetings and closings. Employees used these strategically to emphasise closeness or distance, and with different degrees of formality, fulfilling diverse positioning functions including contesting power, enhancing relationships, or emphasising others’ independence. In addition, the relatively high frequency of greetings and closings compared to findings from other settings appears to confirm the importance claimed for relating at work in Brazil.
Keywords: workplace communication, Brazil, emails, relating at work, greetings and closings, Portuguese
Published online: 17 July 2018
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