Quotation Köster, Almut, Handford, Michael. 2018. ‘It's not good saying “Well it it might do that or it might not”’: Hypothetical Reported Speech in Business Meetings. Journal of Pragmatics. 130 67-80.




This article examines the use of directed reported speech in business meetings that is framed by the speaker as hypothetical. While the past two decades have seen many empirical studies on direct reported speech (DRS) in spoken interactions, fewer have focused specifically on hypothetical reported speech (HRS). This study identifies and examines the discourse patterns and sequences used to perform HRS in a 1-million-word corpus of business interactions, and explores the reasons why HRS is used. As such, it is the first study to pinpoint and examine this discourse phenomenon across a larger spoken business corpus. Through the application of an original methodology, HRS was found to occur as part of specific sequential patterns, and was used largely as a persuasive device, fulfilling a range of related rhetorical functions. Like DRS, HRS can project either a sense of involvement or detachment, but unlike DRS, also allows speakers to generalize; detachment and generalizability being particularly relevant to a business context. The research provides a theoretical contribution on the use of HRS, indicating that HRS is used strategically in professional contexts, often by senior employees, not only to persuade others but also to bring about change in action relevant to the professional practice of the organisation.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Journal of Pragmatics
Citation Index SSCI
Language English
Title ‘It's not good saying “Well it it might do that or it might not”’: Hypothetical Reported Speech in Business Meetings
Volume 130
Year 2018
Page from 67
Page to 80
Reviewed? Y
URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378216617302308?via%3Dihub
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2018.03.005
Open Access N


Köster, Almut (Details)
Handford, Michael (Cardiff University, United Kingdom)
Institute for English Business Communication (Köster) (Details)
Competence Center for Business Languages WE (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
6604 Applied linguistics (Details)
6605 English language and literature (Details)
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