Do you speak English? Speech Codes relating to "English only" Language Policy within Multi-lingual Office Space in China
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This three-year study focuses upon different narratives organizational members construct to make sense to the "English only" language policy within multinational organizations in China. Philipsen's speech codes theory has oriented and guided the design, data collection, and data interpretation of this study. Materials analyzed for this study included transcription of 623 minutes of interview audio files collected from 21 intensive interviews. Interviews were conducted with professionals from a variety of industries in China who work in a mixed language environment of both English and Chinese. Briggs' approach for "metacommunication" has been used to design interview question and collect qualitative data. Coffey and Atkinson's three-level generality analyzing model has been used to group patterned expressions from interview transcriptions. The coding process reflected four distinctive sets of speech codes relating to use of English at work. The four speech codes were: code of normalcy, code of national pride, code of social capital and code of tool. The coding process also discovered two major types of relationship among the speech codes. One was combination, that within one single interview transcription, more than one speech codes may be identified, with one code as primary code and the narrative reflecting "emotional coding" from the primary code over other sub-code(s). The other type of relationship was exclusion, in that code of normalcy and code of national pride have been identified as oppositional codes and exclusive from one another in a single interview transcription. Discussion also pointed at the fact that each speech code reflected distinctive notion of personhood and social structure. Implications to current literature as well as future research suggestions were discussed in the end.
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