Syrian service encounters: A case of shifting strategies within verbal exchange

Veronique Traverso


This paper deals with interaction in Arabic (Syrian dialect). It is based on a corpus of service encounters, more precisely “shop encounters”, which were recorded in small shops in Damascus. The characteristics of this type of interaction will be summarised in the first part of the paper. The analysis will concentrate on the pragmatic level, ie. speech acts and speech activities, the description of which will pay particular attention to interpersonal relationships. The methodological approach adopted in this analysis will describe “from the inside” the way in which each recorded conversation unfolds. Therefore, it does not correspond to a straight-forward cross-cultural approach (even if, from time to time, reference to similar French situations is made). The paper’s main aim is to highlight the double-faceted nature of the recorded conversations, and to examine the overall representation of interaction in relation to its actual temporal unfolding.

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