Meta-phatics (4)

For an index of other posts in this series, jump to the end of this post. This one reviews the following sources:

Bagheri, Hossein; Noor Aireen Ibrahim and Hadina Habil 2012. 'aha, ok, alright' as Phatic Talk: An Analysis on Opening in Multilingual and Multicultural Clinical Consultations. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 66: 8-16.

Moreover, there are constraints associated to what the participants can do to achieve the goal of consultation, the degree of adherence or violation of conversational and interpersonal maxims, turn-taking, topic control, and the like. In this way, in line with the involved activity, doctors and patients co-construct the meaning within a "frame" which is the meaning that participants bring into the involved activity. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 8-9)
All valid concerns. In the previous paper I read (in Meta-phatics (3)), topic control appeared as at least a quasi-phatic constraint. This paper, as I understand it, deals with this more explicitly, as the "frame" determines whether the conversation is phatic or not.
On the whole, they classified the overall structure of primary care consultations including six phases as follows:
  1. Relating to the patient (opening)
  2. Discovering the reasons for attendance (history-taking)
  3. Conducting a verbal or physical examination or both (examination)
  4. Consideration of patient's condition (diagnosis)
  5. Detailing of treatment or further investigation (treatment)
  6. Terminating (closing)
Ainsworth-Vaugh believes that medical interactions in health communication are sequentially organized. The most general sequential order includes opening consultation, complaint (presenting symptom/history taking), examination, diagnosis, treatment (advice), and terminating. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 9)
Opening and closing are unproblematically phatic. What I'm interested here is the phaticity in "history-taking" because this relates, in my opinion, to communization, at least outside of the clinical consultation context. When you meet new people, one of the phatic operations involved in the opening phases is indeed ascertaining the origin of the person (minimally, whether he speaks the same language as you, and possibly whatever else you may have in common). In broad terms, "Discovering the reason for attendance" can translate to discovering the reasons for communicating, as if by way of ascertaining the reason for willingness to communicate.
The most comprehensive relevant account for the absence of ritual social talks in medical consultation is given by Waitzkin who maintains that generally doctors lack competency in dealing with social parameters of disease. Thus, they feel comfortable to deal with medical rather than social concerns of the patient. Goffman distinguishes between systems-constraints and ritual-constraints of interaction. The first constraints label those ingredients which are essential in sustaining any type of systemic interweaving of actions based on language while the second type of constraints is not essential in maintaining interaction linguistically. The latter are typical of the social and cultural aspects of interaction. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 10)
I can't really tell which is which. But "maintaining interaction linguistically" is really phatic, even Jakobsonian-ly phatic.
In the opening phase, doctors usually start consultation with a small ritual talk before engagement with the main part of consultation. In the beginning, welcoming or greeting between the participants can act as a warm up and ice breaking pre-activity exercise which aims at making the patient feel comfortable and creating rapport between the participants. In addition, it can disclose the participants' competency and fluency level, the need to attune their voice to each others' voice, and create an optimal first impression which may also index the participants' identity among other facilitating strategies in communication. However, opening rituals may not obviously be related to the main activity of medical practice but they can facilitate the interaction. Finally, this phase ends with the doctor's readiness for knowing the reason of the visit. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 10)
So many relevant points that this passage demands returning to it at a later date after I've constructed a preliminary scheme of phatic issues.
In the opening phase of clinical consultation, the doctor initially establishes relationship with the patient like a host welcoming a guest. The first impression is made between the doctor and the patient in the very beginning moments on interaction. Even the doctor's readiness and level of engagement may very easily attract the patient's attention. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 11)
I feel like this is important. It is necessary to generalize it in terms of general theory of social interaction. Maybe signs of engagement could be a thing? IT would certainly reinforce Ruesch's engagement effect in a relevant way.
In this study, the analysis of the collected data divulges a unique feature of clinical consultation. That is, unlike most mainstream reported reseach on medical encounters which included phatic talk in the beginning and at the end of the medical interviews, here, such social small talks do not exist. As the data sample shows, the doctor in a straight forward manner starts the consultation by asking the patient for the reason of the visit or medical problem. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 14)
The takeaway here being that if the doctor and patient speak different native languages their small talk will consequently be very limited or nonexistent. Not a very surprising discovery in itself but it does say something about the importance of "verbal" in verbal togetherness.
Therefore, avoiding social phatic talks in clinical consultation could be a benevolent action in multi-ethnic environment in spite of apparently signifying the practice of discrimination. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 14)
That's a good way of putting it.
In this study, considering Holme's differentiation between core business talk and phatic talk, the clinical consultation lacks any phatic talk in the beginning for the purpose of greeting and in the end in the form of ritual leave-taking manners. He maintains that the former is "on-topic", maximally informative, context-bounded, and transactional while the latter is atopical, minimally informative, context-free, and social. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 14)
God I love jargon. Gotta love jargon. Jargon, jargon, jargon. Jargon.
The analysis of the opening in consultation in the multilingual multicultural setting has resulted in the following tentative conclusions and related recommendations.
  1. The institutional factors such as time constraint, limited number of physicians, etc. can prioritise medical talk over phatic talk even to the level of disregarding the latter.
  2. The complexity of phatic talk and low familiarity of doctors with this type of talkin comparison with the ease and familiarity of the technical language of their expertise offers room for further training of the doctors. The doctors are educated to practice medicine and their activities are different from psychologists.
  3. Culture-sensitive nature of social talk may prone clinical consultation to miscommunication as a result of misinterpretations. Medical talk can be either understood by the patient or not understood. They are less prone to misinterpretation and conflict than phatic talk.
One important implication for this type of opening clinical consultation without phatic talk may indicate that the doctor does not mind who their patients are, what language they speak, or what culture they belong to! The only relevant matter is the health problem the patient brings to the doctor. Some topic of general interest such as the weather, how study goes on, how life goes on in the new country, how enjoyable or difficult it is, how long the patient has been waiting to see the doctor and similar culture insensitive topics can break the ice and create rapport which can smooth the consultation process. (Bagheri, Ibrahim & Habil 2012: 15)
Despite not finding much data these authors manage to elucidate salient factors for future consideration. That in itself is commendable.

Stenström, Anna-Brita 2014. Avoid silence! Keep talking! Pragmatic markers as phatic devices in teenage conversation. Functions of Language 21(1): 30-49.

The primary aim of this study has been to find out whether the choice and frequency of pragmatic markers can be said to distinguish phatic talk ('chats') from informative talk. (Stenström 2014: 30)
That's a pretty good premise. Ward & Horn (1999) pointed out that there's a need for a heuristic device for distinguishing phaticity from non-phaticity. Pragmatic markers might be it.
The question focussed on in this paper is whether the choice and frequency of pragmatic markers can beused to distinguish between 'phatic' talk and 'informative' talk, or whether it points to a continuum. (Stenström 2014: 30)
I think previously there has been talk of a "gradient" (my term for "continuum"), but I can't look it up because I haven't re-typed the notes yet. In any case it's a relevant question.
Phatic talk, which is part of the social function of language, is seen as talk for the sake of talking, with no or very little informative value, the function of which is to establish and maintain contact (cf. Levinson 1983: 41). This function is emphasized by Leech (1983), when developing Malinowski's original definition of 'phatic communion' for the "type of speech in which ties of union are created by a mere exchange of words, and which does not communicate ideas" (1923: 315) by adding what he refers to as the 'Phatic Maxim' as a complement to Grice's maxims of Quality, Quantity, Relation and Manner, the core message of which is 'avoid silence' and 'keep talking!'. (Stenström 2014: 30-31)
It is very symptomatic of Leech (if it is he who is being quoted) that his definition of phaticity comes from Dell Hymes: "talking for the sake of talking" (1971: 43-44).
It also matches the characterization of phatic talk by Cheepen (1988), who argues that phatic communication, which she regards as 'interactional language', can "extend over a whole encounter (such as a chat)" (1988: 21). (Stenström 2014: 31)
I'll have to look this up. "Interactional language" would prove immensely useful if I were indeed to follow up the idea that Jakobson's functions are also the constituent sub-codes of language.
Table 1. The most common pragmatic markers in COLT and their functions
eh?, okay?, right? yeah?, innit?appealer
(oh) yeah, okay, (al)right, welluptake
mhm, yeahbackchannel
you know, yeahcontact check
I meanmonitor
like, sort ofhedge
and everythingvalue category marker
erm, like, sort ofstaller
man, girl, (you) dick, peanut head, motherfucker, wankervocative
bloody, fucking, shitintensifier
The functions listed above can be illustrated briefly as follows. (For a more detailed account, including the multifunctionality of some of the pragmatic markers, see Stenström 1999, 2004 and Stenström, Andersen & Hasund 2002.)
    Appealers trigger a next speaker's uptake and have have a particularly strong bonding effect (you thought that was funny eh? - yeah); for 'bonding', see Section 4.2.
  • Backchannels show that the hearer is listening and have an encouraging effect, signalling 'tell me more!' (A: ... took one of Piers's CDs - B: Mhm. - : and erm, put it in his tuck box).
  • Contact checxs (you know, yeah, etc) are uttered by the current speaker to empathize with the addressee.
  • Monitors permit the speaker to reformulate his message (I mean I don't like, I mean I would not do that to <name>) or make a new start (it doesn't happen if your... I mean I'm not saying...).
  • Stallers & hedges reflect hesitation, and due to their frequency in teenage talk they are the most criticized items. Stallers help the current speaker to hold the turn and keep the conversation going by filling an empty space. They are typically realized by filled pauses (erm, er, I can't think off hand now). Hedges are used to modify an utterance and help the speaker avoid showing commitment to what he says (she's like ill in hospital).
  • Vague category markers (VCMs) hint at what is being referred to without being unnecessarily explicit (they like wann see how we talk and all that).
  • Vocatives are used to establish and strengthen the bonds between the speakers (I feel really sorry for you girl). And even if they are realized by taboow ords they are generally used in a friendly, playful sociable way (I got this muck you motherfucker).
  • Intensifiers realized by taboo words are used to strengthen the social relationship between the speakers (fucking crazy...).
  • Links work both within and between turns both as textual and interactional devices. Some linguists refer to them as purely phatic by filling an empty slot; others argue that they cannot be viewed only in purely phatic terms, since they do not simply fill an empty space (cos er Phil erm tt cos Foxy goes oh cos it's it's going really well).
(Stenström 2014: 34-35)
I'm recording this lengthy exposition for the simple reason that Jakobson's illustrations can be elaborated greatly with this typology. Also, I have a feeling that "phatic" is used as a "vague category marker" in some contexts. Well, it is a pretty vague category.
'Phatic talk' will be understood as very informal friendly talk, chats. As regards 'informative talk', Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1987: 538) defines 'informative' as "providing useful facts or ideas", while collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary (1987: 748) says that "[s]omething that is informative gives you useful information". (Stenström 2014: 35)
When reckoning with hom "communion" is different from "communication" (and consequently why c"ommunion" shouldn't be replaced with "communication" without a good justification) this definition would be very handy. It also verifies Malinowski's necessity for creating a new function, seeing as other functions are, in one sense or another, "practical" (useful for doing something).
As will be argued in the following, some chats that are basically phatic encounters, in the sense of Cheepen (1988), may include stretches of talk providing information, albeit not necessarily in the sense of 'useful facts', but by providing 'interesting' information, as defined in The New Oxford Dictionary (1998: 937). (Stenström 2014: 35)
More of probable influence from Dell Hymes, who held that even discourse between scientists about their field of study may be phatic. He is, as I should make clear in my conceptual meta-analysis, following a distinct definition of phaticity based more on reciprocity than on semantics.
This piece of talk is characterized by the filled pasuse er and erm, all of which, except one, are either preceded or followed by a silent pause (indicated by one or more dots). These pauses do not only have a phatic effect, helping the teacher to keep talking without interruption (cf. Leech 1983 and Gibbon 1997), but they also keep the listener alert to upcoming information (cf. Fox Tree (2001: 321)). In other words, the pauses have a phatic function, not unlike that of pragmatic markers such as you know and I mean. (Stenström 2014: 39)
Is that a phatic effect? It doesn't help that the source is: Gibbon, Dafydd 1997. Or eh, phatic focus. Unpublished talk, University of Bielefeld.
The need to use phatic talk depends on the nature of the relation between the speakers. On the one hand, there is less, or no need for, phatic talk in terms of introductory and winding-up talk in the sense of Laver (1975), Leech (1983) and Stenström (1999) mentioned in the introduction, when the speakers are intimate friends, as in the case of the COLT speakers, but on the other hand, with phatic talk defined in a wider sense and with the 'present' speakers in mind, Tannen's description of phatic talk (1990: 102), that it serves a big purpose, by maintaining a sense of camaraderie, is exactly to the point. And here the bonding, socializing, effect of pragmatic markers plays a crucial role. It manifests itself in both varieties of talk, but in different ways. (Stenström 2014: 44)
The dependence of communication style on the relationship between communicants is very apparent. But I'm considering, from a terminological standpoint, if indeed the so-called "bonding effect" would be a good candidate for paraphrasing Malinowski's "bonds of personal union".
Another bonding marker is and everything, which expresses 'you know what I mean, so I don't have to specify' (cf. Channell 1994: 119f). (Stenström 2014: 45)
Score for the Revzin's "common memory". This from: Channell, Joanna 1994. Vague Language. Oxford: OUP.
COLT is a half a million word corpus collected in 1993. The speakers are 13 to 17 year old boys and girls from different London school districts, representing high, middle and low socio-economic class. The conversations were recorded in various surroundings (school yard, street, park, café, etc.) by students who had volunteered to record theyr teenage friends, using a phatic, hopefully unnoticed, microphone. (www.hd.uib.no/colt) (Stenström 2014: 47; note 2)
What in the world is a phatic microphone? Some really take "phatic" as an adjective to be thrown at anything, really (phatic fountains being a similarly excellent example).

Tudini, Vincenza 2013. Form-focused social repertoires in an online language learning partnership. Journal of Pragmatics 50(1): 187-202.

Findings indicate that despite the face-threatening nature of exposed correction within an unequal speech exchange system, participants maintain social solidarity by orienting to expert-novice roles and integrating recasts into phatic action-accepting and appreciation routines to bring form-focused trajectories to a polite conclusion prior to returning to topical talk. (Tudini 2013: 187)
I love jargon, right, but this paper uses jargon to the point of obfuscation. Is action-accepting really phatic? Isn't phatic communion, as Malinowski put it, distinct from "speech-in-action"?
According to Shea (1994), "reciprocicality in conversation entails that communication between NSs and NNss be democratically enacted" (p. 383) to ensure the development of second language proficiency through "joint engagement". (Tudini 2013: 188)
"Reciprocity" and "engagement" do belong to the extended canon of phaticisms, but it is hard to tell if there's anything that can be taken away from this. I'll record it just the same, in hope that I'll cross that bridge in due time.
Social contexts, both online and face-to-face, presume the pursuit of affiliation rather than language learning. (Tudini 2013: 189)
Good expression for paraphrasing Malinowski. At this point I think I may have to conduct my paraphrase project by providing a several-page "alternative text" and then supplementing it with thorough discussion of why a particular expression was chosen to substitute a given Malinowskianism. Just thinking out loud on procedural issues.
Conversation topics which promote comparison between Italy and Australian cultures were provided to promote intercultural discussion, though many participants preferred to use their own topics or engage in free conversation. (Tudini 2013: 190)
Another paraphrasable expression, this one capturing the element of aimlessness in phatic communion. It only demands consideration of free from What?
The analysis suggests that the learner's expression of appreciation serves a dual purpose, (a) an alignment to expert-novice roles where "an act beneficial to the addressee has been duly acknowledged" (Terkourafi, 2011: 225), where in this instance the NS' correction is oriented to be the learner as the beneficial act; and (b) a phatic/polite conclusion to the correction sequence. The act of thanking and/or acknowledging of thanks (prego) provides orderly closure of the sequence and allows topical talk to continue. (Tudini 2013: 193)
So, in other words, it was a pragmatic marker. Identifying "phatic" with "polite" is certainly possible, but perhaps undue without an explanation as to why they are identified. It is at this point that I notice that this paper lacks even the most rudimentary citations of literature on phatics. Nevertheless, it has been a good source of paraphrases so I'll continue reading.
Rather than responding to the substance of her convivial comments, the NS responds to the non-target item in her talk. (Tudini 2013: 193)
If I understand "conviviality" correctly then this expression means something like "talk about mundane/everyday issues", which is phatic, I guess?
In the IRF, the correction sequence is generally concluded or continued by the teacher, as pedagogical concerns have priority over social solidarity. (Tudini 2013: 199)
Same with medical consultations, as we learned above (Bagheri et al. 2012).
When compared to IRF, online recasts therefore appear to have a unique, collaborative sequential trajectory, where the learner regularly brings the pedagogical action-in-progress to an appropriate and relevant sequential closing, or simply acknowledges the correction in the subsequent turn and returns to topical talk. The NS may also close the sequnece if an appreciation adjacency pair is initiated by the learner. These actions reflect the social setting of online text chat, as participants seek to maintain social solidarity by achieving their pedagogical business collaboratively and with the assistence of phatic politeness routines from their respective L1s. (Tudini 2013: 199)
The relevant difference here being that unlike in this "pedagogical business", small talk in medical consultations is independent of any ongoing action. What. are. phatic. politeness. routines?
The fact that the learner regularly thanks the NS for correction, hence orienting to the correction as a "good deed entitled to appreciation" (Schegloff, 2007: 46), is probably due to the orientation to expert-novice status of participants, and the need to achieve a polite conclusion to dispreferred action, as it has not been documented in L1 face-to-face or phone conversations. (Tudini 2013: 199)
Is that it? Is thanking the phatic politeness routine? In that case it all makes sense. Saying hello, thank you and good bye in service encounters like shopping at a supermarked do, in my opinion, qualify such a cumbersome notion as phatic politeness routines. For that this jargon-laden paper was worth the read, although in my own usage I'd see to it that the concept is properly defined and illustrated.
The use of appreciation routines by the NS and learner is also reminiscent of online chat service encounters between librarians and library patrons described by Epperson and Zemel (2008), where thanking is a regular element of the sequence. (Tudini 2013: 199)
And there you go and make phatic politeness routines superfluous.
Furthermore, given that the unique turn-taking format of dyadic online chat offers participants the opportunity for equal participation through unfettered posting of turns, the learner is able to transform the pedagogical trajectory into a social one, providing an authentic alternative to teacher-fronted instructional trajectories, and a degree of reciprocity in interaction management. (Tudini 2013: 200)
Social trajectory sure is a neat way to put social function. I guess I'll have to create a list of these kinds of synonyms as well (somewhere in the previous post I already attempted that, prompted by "social objective"). The concept of degree of reciprocity may become useful when I treat Dell Hymes' "reciprocal expressive function".

Ho, Victor 2014. Managing rapport through evaluation in grounder - A qualitative study. Journal of Pragmatics 61: 63-77.

With the rapid advancement in communication and information technology in the past few decades, e-mail as a channel of workplace communication has gained both papularity and salience [...] (Ho 2014: 63)
That's an odd use of the word "channel".
Effort should then be made to mitigate the face threat and to manage rapport - to minimize the challenge to it or even to enhance it. In other words, professionals will need to, within the same e-mail, achieve the dual aim of requesting others to perform some act for them and to manage the relationship with those who may be offended by the act of requesting. (Ho 2014: 64)
What is pseudo-phatic communion.
Jensen (2009) studied the e-mail correspondence between a Danish company (the buyer) and its Taiwanese business contact (the seller) for a period of three months, focusing on how the e-mail senders' use of the interactional dimension of metadiscourse (Hyland, 1998a, 2005) helped to negotiate power and manage relationship with the recipients. (Ho 2014: 64)
I think it's the case that the relationship of negotiating power and managing relationships is under-theorized. I'm not sure if "academic metadiscourse" is the correct way to approach it, but I'll note this intersection nevertheless.
Appraisal theory specifically addresses the interpersonal metafunction, one of the three metafunctions that language serves; the other two being textual and ideational (Halliday and MAtthiessen, 2004). The interpersonal metafunction, according to Thompson (1996: 38), can help individuals to "establish and maintain appropriate social links" with others through language during communication. The establishment and maintenance of such links, or the management of rapport in Spencer-Oatey's (2008) term, can be achieved with the use of evaluative language [...] (Ho 2014: 64)
B-but this is the phatic function! Did Haliday really get ahead of me and reframe the phatic function as a metafunction?
2.1.1. Attitude. This category covers lexicogrammatical resources used to construe a speaker's/writer's feelings that can be further divided into affect, judgment, and appreciation (Martin and White, 2005: 45-46). It corresponds to the attitude markers sub-category of the interactional dimension of metadiscourse. Affect. It is "concerned with registering positive or negative feelings" (Martin and White, 2005: 42) - happiness/unhappiness, security/insecurity, and satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Lexicogrammatical resources realizing positive and negative feelings include (a) adjectives like cheerful/sad, assured/startled, pleased/angry; (b) verbs like love/hate, trust/astonish; and (c) nominals like love/hatred, confidence/anxiety. Judgment. It is concerned with resources for construing one's assessment of behavior against some normative standard - social esteem (normality, capacity, tenacity) concerning "traits we admire alongside those we criticize"; and social sanction (veracity, propriety) concerning "behavior we praise alongside that we condemn" (Martin and White, 2005: 52). Normally, capacity, and tenacity concern respectively how special, capable, and dependable an individual is; and veracity and propriety concern respectively how honest and ethical an individual is. Lexicogrammatical resources realizing judgment include (a) adjectives like natural/peculiar, predictable/unpredictable; mature/immature, leraned/ignorant; meticulous/reckless, loyal/disloyal; frank/deceptive, honest/dishonest; moral/evil, fair/unfair; and (b) modal verbs (modality showing usuality and probability as well as modulation showing inclination and obligation). Appreciation. It is concerned with resources for construing one's assessment of the value of things, performances, and phenomena - "'reactions' to things and phenomena (do they catch our attention; do they please us?), their 'composition' (balance and complexity), and their 'value' (how innovative, authentic, timely, etc.)" (Martin and White, 2005: 56). Lexicogrammatical resources realizing appreciation include adjectives like arresting/dull, dramatic/predictable; good/nasty, appealing/repulsive; balanced/unbalanced, consistent/contradictory; simple/ornate, intricate/plain; timely/dated, and authentic/fake.
Despite the fact that the primary concerns of judgment and appreciation are respectively the assessment of people's behavior and value of things, performances, and phenomena, they can be seen as other ways of expressing feelings. Judgment can be thought as "rework(ing) feelings in the realm of proposals about behavior", and appreciation as "rework(ing) feelings as propositions about the value of things" (Martin and White, 2005: 45). (Ho 2014: 65-66)
Holy shit, this is the best thing ever. I haven't seen such a systematic outline of these terms since Kulp (1935). Definitely useful for a phatic approach to affective media. Martin, Jim and Peter White 2005. The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in Eglish. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Proclaim functions to contract the dialogic space by concur, endorse, and pronounce. Concur works by indicating that the authorial voice agrees with or has the same knowledge as the alternative positions and voices with (a) expressions like of course, naturally, not surprisingly, admittedly, and certainly; and (b) rhetorical questions whose answers are so obvious that both are authorial and alternative voices are presented as in alignment. Endorse works by construing the alternative voices as "correct, valid, undeniable or otherwise maximally warrantable" (Martin and White, 2005: 126) with verbs like show, prove, and demonstrate. Pronounce works by emphasizing or explicitly intervening/interpolating with expressions like I contend..., The facts of the matter are than..., and You must agree that.... It corresponds to the self-mention and booster sub-categories of the interactional dimension of metadiscoures. (Ho 2014: 66)
This is useful for advancing the theory of concourse, on the conceptual level at least. Although I mean "alignment" between verbal and nonverbal sign systems by it, this is nevertheless insightful.
Rapport, defined as "people's subjective perceptions of (dis)harmony, smoothness-turbulance and warmth-antagonism in interpersonal relationshiy" (Spencer-Oatey and Franklin, 2009: 102), has been shown to play an important role in communication (e.g. Gordon, 2006; Ho, 2011b; Planken, 2005; Spencer-Oatey and Xing, 2008). The bases of rapport are formed by three interconnected components, namely face sensitivities, sociality rights and obligations, and interactional goals (Spencer-Oatey, 2008: 14). Its management, defined as "the ways in which this (dis)harmony is (mis)managed" (Spencer-Oatey and Franklin, 2009: 102). (Ho 2014: 67)
Perhaps I should look into whether aspects of phaticity can be organized according to these poles. In phatic terms these would be politeness, social value, and aimlessness. Spencer-Oatey, Helen 2008. Face (im)politeness and rapport. In: Spencer-Oatey, H. (ed.), Culturally Speaking: Culture, Communication and Politeness Theory. 2nd ed. London; New York: Continuum, 11-47.
While it was reasonable to assume that the senders' interactional goals would be to the recipients to perform certain act (transactional), and to manage rapport with the recipients (relational), it might not be so to do the same for the recipients. (Ho 2014: 68)
A definition of transaction for when we cross that bridge. Here, the act would constitute a "third" (level) system.
The senders were managing the "affective involvement-detachment" aspect (Spencer-Oatey, 2008: 16) of association - they were sharing with the recipients their "concerns, feelings and interests" (Spencer-Oatey, 2008). (Ho 2014: 71)
Concerning the balancing act between approach/engagement and detachment/discontinuation.
The rapport building effect of affect was enhanced by the use of judgment as the combination "encourages a greater sense of emphatic solidarity between the speaker and listener" (Page, 2003: 226). (Ho 2014: 71)
Score for Morrisian communization.
The senders' use of disclaim and proclaim could be interpreted as their attempts to manage rapport by managing the sociality rights and obligations - association using the following linguistic strategies of associative expressiveness (Spencer-Oatey, 2008: 29):
  1. Claim common point of view, opinions, attitudes, knowledge, empathy - the senders assumed that the recipients had the same beliefs and expectations as them as in 'they can't even add the user to a course using the 'Course Registration' function' (for counter);
  2. Be optimistic and Assume reciprocity - the sender assumed that all the recipients would agree with her as in 'I am sure you all agree that...' (for pronounce)
(Ho 2014: 73)
This, on the other hand, is closer to Ruesch's communization.

Obana, Yasuko 2012. Re-examination of yoroshiku onegaishimasu - The routine formula as the linguistic implementation of one's tachiba-role. Journal of Pragmatics 44(11): 1535-1548.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu is a routine formula widely used in daily life in Japan, especially when introducing oneself or making a request in both spoken and written interaction. Its literal meaning is '(I humbly) request (you) to do (something) appropriately.' and its pragmatic intpreretation varies in different contexts. As a rule of thumb, when the formula is used at the end of one's self introduction, it means 'Please treat me well.' When it is expressed as part of a request or at the end of a request, it is interpreted as 'I wish you to treat the matter well.' In either situation, the formula indicates the closing of a statement. (Obana 2012: 1535)
This is indeed a Malinowskian approach. He is also among the citations. As always it's a particular aspect of Malinowski's treatment that gains emphasis. Here it is formulae of greeting or approach, quite literally.
Pizziconi (2003), in re-examining Matsumoto (1988, 1993), denies the requestive nature of the formula and concludes that the formula is a positive strategy indicating the interactants' welcoming gesture for a good relationship. (Obana 2012: 1536)
A strategy, nevertheless. A social technique (of approach), if you will.
The last three decades have witnessed a great number of challenges to Brown and Levinson's (1987) theory of universality of politeness across cultures, in particular, their definition of "face" and their dichotomy of "positive" and "negative" politeness. A notable critique came from Matsumoto (1988, 1989, 1993) and Ide (1989, 2006), who contended that Brown and Levinson's "face" is an individual motivation, and thus, alien to Japanese society. (Obana 2012: 1536)
Huh. I wonder if it would be possible to construct a typology of politeness strategies according to Zirberman's six-fold typology of cultures. If the Western and Japanese attitudes toward politeness follow Zilberman's impeccable logic, why shouldn't the others? (But for doing so I would need to read a lot more about politeness in various cultures, and I'm not sure I'm up for that task.)
I agree with Matsumoto that the formula as a greeting functions as a "relation-acknowledging device". It is without fail uttered when two people meet for the first time and introduce themselves, implying one's wish to have a good relationship with the other. (Obana 2012: 1536)
Useful for elaborating Bateson's mu-function and broaden it a bit. But is the expression, yoroshiku onegaishimasu, all that different from English "Nice to meet you!" or Estonian "Meeldiv tutvuda" ("Pleasant to become acquainted").
The kanji (Chinese character) which used to be applied to this adjective is read as mube/ube in old Japanese, originally meaning 'affirmation, acceptance by a higher person'. (Obana 2012: 1536)
Nice. Even native etymology reinforces phaticity.
A social self is created when a situation is defined; interactants recognise who they are interacting with, what is the focus of the interaction and what is currently going on. Then, tehy "cognitively structure the situation in terms of roles" (Hewitt and Shulman, 2011: 51). As Turner (2002: 233) explains that "individual behaviour in social contexts is organised and acquires meaning in terms of roles", roles are tantamount to social identities. Turner (2002: 235) further states that "roles are linked through distinctive role relationships". Social roles do not exist autonomously but created and reshaped in relation to others (or an imagined community); they are social products developed through "looking-glass self" (Cooley, 1902) processes. (Obana 2012: 1540)
Note to self: read Cooley. I'm only aware that he was (presumably) the first to use the expression "non-linguistic" but that is all at the moment. Perhaps a phatic study of Cooley's work could even be constructed. Perhaps.
Group 1 is the use of the formula as a ritual greeting. As mentioned in Section 2, the formula when used as a greeting signals the commencement of a new relationship in non-intimate encounters, or of an activity the interactants are going to engage in together. The formula in this Group does not deliver new information or expect the hearer(s) to respond to promote further interaction, although the latter may repeat the formula out of courtesy (i.e. lie, kochirakoso yoroshiku onegaishimasu. = Likewise, the same greeting to you, too.). (Obana 2012: 1542-1543)
That it does not require the hearer to respond seems like an offshoot of Malinowski's statement that phatic communion is a type of speech that does not "necessarily arouse reflection in the listener" (Malinowski 1946[1923]: 315).
The formula in this group should be considered a kind of 'phatic communion'. Phatic communion is a form of relationship communication as opposed to idea exchange or information delivery. It is routine exchange including greetings and small talk ('Nice day.' 'How was your weekend?'), serving to "establis and consolidate the interpersonal relationship" (Laver, 1976: 236) between interactants. It is an "emotionally uncontroversial communicative material" (Laver, 1975: 221) since it is non-referential without transmitting precise content. Takekuro's (2005) "bonding" as the formula's function fits well in the definition of phatic communion. (Obana 2012: 1543)
A good approximation, though I'm not sure Malinowski's own views allow for "relationship communication".

Isurin, Ludmila; Michael Furman and Kate White 2015. Talking to a stranger: Linguistic and non-linguistic behavior of Russian immigrants during 2010 US Census. Language & Communication 40: 38-51.

Communication breakdown often leads to broken relationships, hurt feelings, culture shock, and diplomatic failure. When peolpe visit a foreign country and find it difficult to understand the natives, they often blame this disconnect on a lack of sufficient linguistic knowledge. When foreigners immigrate to a new country it is expected that they will behave in the manner prescribed by the host society and culture. The failure to do so may result in poor integration with and assimilation to the host culture, In addition, a failure to integrate may disrupt the immigrants' ability to function in society, as they are expected to be good citizens, to participate adequately in society, and to embrace any government function that may be required. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 38)
These general sentiments are truisms. Communication breakdown falls into the often neglected negative phatics domain.
The focus of the present study was to analyze cross-linguistic and cross-cultural differences that might account for the observed linguistic and non-linguistic behavior of Russian immigrants as they interact with a stranger, in this case a government official. In order to understand these differences it is essential to discuss two elements that are central to Russian culture: Russian collectivism and Russian hospitality.
Hofstede's (2001) publication on cross-cultural differences introduced a measure of individualism across many cultures, which sparked a new field of research for cross-cultural psychologists, anthropologists, and linguists. The "individualism index," based on different components and calculated for various countries, offered a new way to look at cultural traits that are ingrained in culturally accepted behavior. Traditionally, Western cultures have been viewed as individualists, with the US having the highest index of individualism, while Eastern cultures, including Russia, fall into the category of collectivist cultures (Hofstede, 2001).
Individualism and collectivism measures reflect the extent to which an individual's self-construal relies on a bigger social group. Thus, the more unique and independent the self is, the more a person may exhibit individualist behavior. Conversely, the more a person relies on in-group norms, the more collectivist his self-construal may be. Triandis (1990, 2001) further developed this approach by extending it to explain certain behavioral norms that are characteristic of either collectivist or individualist cultures.
Among these norms is the manner in which people behave towards a stranger. The relationship that people have with their in-group and out-group members becomes the core of the construct of individualism and collectivism. To illustrate, collectivism is defined by close reliance on in-group relationships, which often remain unchanging throughout individual's adult life. As a result, people in collectivist cultures are more likely to treat a stranger in an indifferent or even hostile way. Therefore, smiling at strangers in the street or in a store would be considered inappropriate. On the other hand, in an individualist society a person does not rely on a restricted in-group; rather he either creates numerous in-groups and easily moves between them or totally abandons them in order to create new ones. In this case, looking at a stranger with a friendly smile would be a behavioral norm: any stranger can be viewed as a potential in-group member, no matter how fluid the relationship might be. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 39)
Somewhere above I entertained the idea of taking up Zilberman's classification of cultural types. Western and Japanese seemed unproblematic. Here, the Russian perspective is presented. Individualism/collectivism is one of the three factors Zilberman considers.
Phatic conversation (often referred to as phatic communion (see Al-Qinai, 2011; Coupland et al., 1992; Laver, 1975; Pavlidou, 1994) is "a type of speech in which ties of union are created by a mere exchange of words" (Malinowski, 1923: 315). Although phatic communion is achieved through words, it also concerns the interpersonal relationships within a social relationship. Pavlidou (1994) argues that phatic communion includes those utterances that are directed toward the interactional and relational aspect of communication (Pavlidou, 1994: 490). Understanding phatic communion as directed towards the interpersonal level of language indicates its social and cultural importance. Phatic communion sets up a social environment where the interactional roles of the interlocutors are navigated (Al-Qinai, 2011). (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 40-41)
Eh. At some point it gets tedious, this emphasis on relationships (a concept absent from Malinowski's treatment). I know that it originates from John Laver, but his paper elaborated it greatly while most stick to the mention without really qualifying it with anything.
The present analysis addresses three different fronts: (1) the use of ethnographic face-to-face data, (2) the use of Russian to examine closings and phatic communion, and (3) the comparison of phatic communion and closings in Russian and English. More specifically, we examine the extent to which Russian and English interlocutors orient to non-transactional aspects of the conversation (phatic communion) in order to understand better the role of these strategies within an interview setting. We also analyze conversational closings as closings set the final tone for the conversation as well as set the ground for a future interaction. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 41)
So this approach is really really Laverian, concerned with the "psychologically crucial margins" of conversation (here, closing).
In the majority of Russian cases (64%) second NRFU attempts were observed, meaning that the first visit failed due to a linguistic breakdown or simply due to the respondent's unwillingness to open the door to an enumerator. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 42)
Unwillingness to communicate is indeed the core of negative phatics.
Comfort level was coded on the scale of 1-5 (1 - uncomfortable, almost hostile; 2 - uncomfortable and distant; 3 - neutral and indifferent; 4 - friendly but distant; 5 - comfortable and relaxed) and was recorded at the beginning and the end of the interview. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 42)
I haven't seen methodical "coding" like this in the papers I've read for a while now. These look like relevant for my purposes.
Thus, this side sequence is entirely irrelevant to the interview. Irrelevant communication is in keeping with phatic communion. The interlocutors are no longer attending to the information gathering aspect, but to the interpersonal, social aspect of the interaction. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 44)
"Attending" is very opportune term for this purpose. It may indeed manage to tie together Malinowskian "chit-chat" and Jakobsonian "attention".
Unlike the Russian respondents, the English respondents were unlikely to invite the enumerator inside. The Russian respondents ended the interview inside the residence half of the time, while 81.1% of the English interviews remained outside or across a treshold. This may be due to a cultural difference, as Russian culture is more likely to dictate that a visitor should be invited inside, while in American culture it is acceptable to remain standing outside. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 47)
Sadly this is pretty much the only "non-linguistic" factor studied in this paper.
Specifically, we find that phatic communion can and does occur during both conversation medial and closing sequences. (Isurin, Furman & White 2015: 49)
Medial. Huh.

Drazdauskienė, Marija Liudvika 2012. The Limits of Implicature in the Phatic Use of English. Man & the Word / Zmogus ir zodis 14(3): 4-10.

Drawing on the basic concepts of pragmatics and the functional theory of language, this paper treats the phatic use of language as very significant speech which runs in a transferred sense. With weak and strong implicatures characteristic of it, the phatic use of English is nothing short of poetic effects while it is of immediate relevance to the participants. The role of imagination may be minor in small talk, but that of contexts (co-text, the context of situation and the context of culture) is major. (Drazdauskienė 2012: 4)
What is this? What in the world is this? A transferred sense? Poetic effects? The role of contexts? Okay, the last one makes a bit of sense. But other than that this is beyond cryptic.
The theoretical background. I am a committed follower of the functional theory of language (Halliday, 1973, 1976, 1978). I believe that language is meaning potential, i.e. that it is a system of inherited meaning as it is a means of meaning, and that these components of meaning interact permanently. (Drazdauskienė 2012: 5)
Oh my. Egocentric statements in an academic paper. The author is situated in Poland (Warsaw) but according to bibliography wrote her doctoral dissertation, "The Phatic Use of English in Functional Styles", in Russian, in and in Lithuania. Whatever this is, it has Eastern Europe written on it in a three-fold manner. Content-wise I, too, am a committed follower of the functional theory of language, but I subscribe to Malinowski, Bühler, Mukarovsky, and most importantly, Jakobson. In fact I've never ever read Halliday, although one of his books is among the current list of readings.
The phatic use of language and the problem of meaning. The phatic use of language presents a question in its own right. I have researched this use of language while defining it as the speech directed to maintain verbal contact, especially at the beginning and end of speech acts and in situations of leisure. I have found it realised even in imaginative literature and in scholarly works (cf.: acknowledgments and dedications, cf.: the function of the title page, of the table of content, preface, foreword and introduction). (Drazdauskienė 2012: 5)
What question is that, though? The definition is unmistakably Jakobsonian (emphasis on contact), although "situations of leisure" captures the Malinowskian scene of men sitting around campfire (I'm not actually sure if this is in Malinowski's text or if I've constructed this image on my own accord). The study of phaticity in the formal/paralinguistic aspects of literature and scholarship evokes Christiane Nord (2007), and an author from the 1970s who wrote a whole book about the phatic function in some English author's works.
Meaning in the phatic ue of language may be treated roughtly in two ways: 1) The phatic use of language is trivial and its aim is contact maintenance and pleasure. Therefore its sense matters only on the level of talking rather than meaning. 2) Although trivial, the phatic use of language is very significant and is carried on in a transferred sense. Meaning in the phatic use of language is evasive and depends on individual interpretation no less than it does in poetry (Widdowson, 1992; Blakemore, 1992, 14). (Drazdauskienė 2012: 5)
As is common, this author selects a specific aspect in Malinowski's original treatment and zoom in on it. Here, it is "to enjoy each other's company" (Malinowski 1946[1923]: 314). As to the evasiveness of meaning, this is an echo of the characterization of phatic communion as "a function to which the meaning of its words are almost completely irrelevant" (ibid, 313). I guess this is why she compares it to poetry - in which, according to the functionalist paradigm, the referential, cognitive, or ideational "meaning" is not the the most salient feature. Also, now that I looked it up, the "situation of leisure" may be inspired by Malinowski's invocation of "a European drawing-room" (ibid, 313). It is quite possible that so many American and non-European readers of Malinowski neglect this aspect because they simply don't know what an European drawing-room means. Neither do I, exactly. But I imagine it to be something like the salong, i.e. a social space where drinks and conversations are had for casual entertainment. Kinda like the Goffmanian "cocktail party" in a sense. For may paraphrase of Malinowski I'll surely have to look up what "drawing room" actually denotes and connotes.
I shall focus on the significance of the phatic use of English but I shall also mind the view of its functional triviality, as I am interested in meaning rather than in "the structure of social interaction" or human psychology (Blakemore, 1992, 3-4). (Drazdauskienė 2012: 5)
Others, too, in the functionalist paradigm have posed the problem of phatics in terms of information vs interaction. Personally I think it's a bit reductive.
Third, the simplicity of its syntax and vocabulary, its refined and pleasure-giving sense, as well as context-bound strong and weak implicatures arising basically from emotive colouring suggests that the phatic use of English exploits verbal resources in a transferred sense. This must be true at least partly because inexpert speakers often complain of hypocrisy in this use of language, which is a blunter notion than the concept of Bronislaw Malinowski, which claims that "a common sentiment", "where it purports to exist" in phatic communion, "is avowedly suprious on one side" (Malinowski, 1923/1960, 313). (Drazdauskienė 2012: 5)
Drazdauskiene is one of the very few who have made this connection and noticed that since the lexicogrammatical resources of phatic utterances, i.e. formulae of greeting or approach, are very homogeneous, it's real import stems from the emotive aspect. In that sense, yes, the "transferred sense" she is referring to makes perfect sense. After all, social and emotive use of language are indeed connected. It's also the basis for Weston La Barre's concept of phatic communication, which takes emotive colouring and common sentiment to be the crux of the matter.
This rudimentary step was followed by contextual analysis: the meaning of every utterance was analysed 1) in its co-text or in its immediate linguistic context, and 2) in the context of situation, which was sufficient for implicatures in terms of pragmatics, as well as 3) in the context of culture, which allowed generalizations on implicatures in linguocultural terms. (Drazdauskienė 2012: 6)
It is curious how many such terms there are floating around: sociolinguistic, ethnolinguistic, sociopragmatic, linguopragmatic, linguocultural, etc. For me these all seem just "semiotic".
This conversation is so simple and representative of the phatic use of English that it literally illustrates the definition of small talk (i.e. of a conversation on unimportant everyday matters) [...] Cf.: [...] (as your Tea you sip, While the Town Small-talk flows from lip to lip; Intrigues half-gather'd, Conversation craps, Kitchen-cabals, and Nursery-mishaps,) [...] (C. Crabbe. The Vicar. Letter 3 // G. Crabbe. The Borough. A poem in 24 Letters. - London: J. Hatchard, 1812, Vol. 1, pp. 35-41). (Drazdauskienė 2012: 6)
Is this the earliest occurrence of "small-talk"?
Here is one more example in which the point of irony is explained by the native speaker. A British-born professor of English literature at UCLA told the following story to his Soviet students in 1976:
(3) Students do not always detect the note of sarcasm, which is heavy irony. Sarcasm is hard to pick up. I suppose the classic irony is where there is doubt.
"I used to go swimming at lunch time [...] and afterwards I would shower. And there's something about showers - they have very good echo - so that one's singing sounds like Shal'apin's instead of Povey's. And I would sing very loudly.
And the man next door, as I came out, said: 'John, you have an interesting voice. You should have it trained.'
And I am still not quite certain whether this was a compliment. And the best irony is when you can't be sure."
(UCLA, USA, August 1976)
To suggest why the Professor may have been not quite sure, I should like to focus on the word interesting. Its positive evaluation is of a low degree. There are evaluative words of a higher degree when one means it. Interesting means an evaluation with reserve, and therefore may be ironic. But the problem is that the implicature of this sense is very weak, mainly because of the meaning of the word and because of the scanty context of situation. (Drazdauskienė 2012: 8)
I recall the fact that McLuhan includes something silly, absurd, or completely meaningless in all of his books. But the reader can never be sure what that item might be. So in that sense McLuhan is really practicing the best sort of irony. On the subject of "interesting", I'm not sure about weak or strong implicatures but the word is indeed neutral in evaluation: it doesn't say whether the object is good or bad. It says that it deserves attention. In that sense this would be an "interesting" thing to include in the phatic bric-a-brac rubric: the word "interesting" itself. (Maybe even read an analysis of the word, if such a thing happens to be available.)
Here is one more illustration of an analogous utterance.
(4) A young researcher in Eastern Europe, sent Roman Jakobson an abstract of her dissertation, which was on the topic on which this author had published. She received a formal acknowledgment.
Roman Jakobson wrote:
Roman Jakobson thanks you for your kindness in sending Your important study "The Social Uses of Language".
The first implicature I deduced when I read this inscription on a printed card what that it is pleasant to receive such an acknowledgment. Important is a word with a positive evaluation. But my other immediate thought was whether the acknowledgment was not ironic because the positive evaluation in important is of a high degree. A weak implicature was that the evaluation is slightly overdone by the trite evaluative word and therefore ironic. (Drazdauskienė 2012: 9)
Knowing Jakobson through reading so much of his (Selected) writings, I wouldn't put it out of the question that he did find it important. Even cursory acquaintance with Jakobson's ouvre reveals that he was interested in many things and found linguistic study in general to be of extreme importance; any study (especially titled like that) on the matter is by proxy also important.

Feenberg, Andrew 1989. The Writter World: On the theory and practice of computer conferencing. In: Masor, Robin and Anthony Kaye (eds.), Mindweave: Communication, Computers, and Distance Education. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 22-39.

In our culture the face-to-face encounter is the ideal paradigm of the meeting of minds. Communication seems most complete and successful where the person is physically present 'in' the message. This physical presence is supposed to be the guarantor of authenticity: you can look your interlocutor in the eye and search for tacit signs of truthfulness or falsehood, where context and tone permit a subtler interpretation of the spoken word. (Feenberg 1989: 22)
This would appear not to be the universal opinion, as according to Kunreuther (2006) the Nepalese prefer voice only over physical presence, and consider voice only to be more emotionally authentic. Which in some sense is true because you won't get distracted by visual stimuli. On the other hand, (visual) context and (vocal) tone together do reinforce the subtleties, as was also noted in the previous paper.
The new phenomenon of computer mediated communication (CMC) appears to represent a dramatic step toward total impersonality. For example, authorship seems drastically reduced when messages entered into the computer's memory. (Feenberg 1989: 22)
You mean anonymity?
But is it true that CMC is a sterile imitation of thought, devoid of the personal touch? Computer bulletin boards, electronic mail, computer conferencing, videotex and synchronous dialogue programs are now employed by millions of people all over the world. Yet experienced users of the new medium usually deny that it obstructs human contact. It turns out that many ordinary individuals possess a compensatory 'literary' capacity to project their personality into writing destined for the computer screen. (Feenberg 1989: 23)
This is also Schandorf's (2012) view.
Engaging in face-to-face conversation involves complex forms of behaviour called 'phatic' functions by semiologists. When we say "Hey, how's it going?" we signify our availability for communication. We usually close the conversation with another set of rituals, such as, "I've gotta go. See you later." Throughout our talk, we are continually sending phatic signs back and forth to keep the line open and to make sure messages are getting through. For example, we say such things as, "How about that!" or reply, "Yes, go on." Looks and facial expressions tacitly reassure interlocutors that they are still in touch, or on the contrary carry a warning if the communication link is threatened by technical difficulties or improprieties. All such phatic signs are bypassed in computer conferencing. Even standard codes for opening and closing conversations are discarded. (Feenberg 1989: 23)
Functions in plural? Also, this paper is a rarity in treating "phatic signs" as a thing (Firth did so, too, I think, but that's about it). Signifying availability for communication is a good complement to the willingness to communicate ordeal.
The paucity of phatic expression in CMC amplifies certain social insecurities that no doubt were always there, but which now come to the fore. (Feenberg 1989: 24)
Maybe that is why there's an fast increasing vast amount of literature on phaticity nowadays? A lot of it does deal with computer mediated communication.
This technical improvement, which makes rapid exchanges possible, also makes unusual delay a sign of rejection or indifference since there is no mechanical excuse for silence. Paradoxically, then, speeding up and improving asynchronous exchanges causes unexpected distress. This explains why on-line communities place such an emphasis on active participation and are often critical of passive readers who are pejoratively called 'lurkers'. This concern with participation may even become obsessive, revealing the surprising depths of anxiety and unrequited authors. (Feenberg 1989: 24)
Was this really written in '89? Because it's eerily characteristic of MSN messenger and Facebook chat.
THe relative desacralisation of the subject weakens social control in computer-mediated communication. It is difficult to bring group pressure to bear on someone who cannot see frowns of disapproval. Communication by computer thus enhances the sense of personal freedom and individualism by reducing the 'existential' engagement of the self in its communications. 'Flaming' (the expression of uncensored emotions on-line) is viewed as a negative consequence of this feeling of liberation. And so is the diminished sense of the reality of other people. (Feenberg 1989: 25)
I think this would be a good topic to relate to affective media. It would certainly explain online communities that share videos and opinions on outrageous matters (e.g. PussyPassDenied subreddit that archives videos of women being violent and getting hurt as a consequence, or FatLogic subreddit where people make fun of overweight people who attempt to rationalize their bad health).
The organic community of speech, based on repetition and performance, gives way to the privacy of the modern individual, suddenly distanced from the language of the community. In this new position the individual gains control of a personal language, which is 'doubled' because the speaker/writer is no longer identified with his own words but uses them for 'effect'. (Feenberg 1989: 26)
Huh. That is a unique take on private signs. And quite on par with my personal experience.
But what if the dominant medium of the next century is not structured like broadcast television but like CMC? Such an environment, based on generalised retrievability, suggests a different future in which a new form of 'post-modern' individualism emerges, not as a retrograde reminder of the dying past, but in response to the most advanced methods of mediating experience (Lyotard, 1979, pp. 103-104). (Feenberg 1989: 26)
Our media is steadily becoming generally "retrievable". Think of Netflix, Youtube, Podcasts, eBooks, Audobooks, Steam, etc.
Computer conferenging is frequently said to build community, but the idea of community implies bonds of sentiments that are not always necessary to effective on-line communication. A group of interested individuals may produce a successful conference whether they form a community or just a temporary gathering. Rather than focusing on the concept of community, it would make sense to study the dynamics of conferencing on its own terms. This may open a way to understanding the sociology of the conference group, its specific 'sociability'. (Feenberg 1989: 26-27)
These are very Malinowskian phaticisms.
The sociability of conferencing resembles that of sports or games where we are drawn along by interest in the next step in the action. Every comment has a double goal: to communicate something and to evoke the (passive or active) participation of interlocutors. We can say that playing at computer conferencing consists in making moves that keep others playing. The goal is to prolong the game and to avoid making the last move. This is why computer conferencing favours open-ended comments which invite a response, as opposed to close and complete pronouncements. (Feenberg 1989: 27)
And now some Jakobsonian phaticisms: continuation, prolongation.
'Human factors' research tries to identify inherent constraints on product design with regard to human nature. By analogy, research into 'social factors' seek to identify constraints on the design of products for this or that social group or category. These social considerations are generally known to well-informed product designers, marketing executives, and on-line group leaders but there is no one field where social factors are studied systematically. As a result, they are more likely to be misunderstood or overlooked than human factors. (Feenberg 1989: 29)
The similarities with "phatic studies" is truly astounding.
These technical powers represent, however, only a small part of the moderating groupware, which Hiltz and Turoff (1981, pp. 23-24) describe as follows:
In order for a computerized conference to be successful the moderator has to work very hard at both the 'social host' and the 'meeting chairperson' roles. As social host she/he has to issue warm invitations to people; send encouraging private messages to people complimenting them or at least commenting on their entries, or suggesting what they may be uniquely qualified to contribute. As meeting chairperson, she/he must prepare an enticing-sounding initial agenda; frequently summarize or clarify what has been going on; try to express the emerging consensus or call for a formal vote; sense and announce when it is time to move on to a new topic.
Without this kind of active moderator role, a conference is not apt to get off the ground. (Feenberg 1989: 33)
I'll have to consider these aspects when finally e-mailing the phatic researchers we've listed. Today I thought of asking them for correspondence, i.e. a short review of our meta-analysis, so that they could express their opinions, elaborate on the aspect they find most pertinent, or point out mistakes we've made. A procedural note.
Moderators also play an important role in initiating and sustaining meta-communication, i.e. communication about communication. Meta-communication is particularly valuable for strengthening a weak communication link by calling attention to problems in the process of discussion. Although, we occasionally engage in explicit meta-communication, as for example, when we ask our interlocutor to speak up or to come to the point, cues we give with out bodies and tone of voice are so effective thta we can usually carry on complex conversations without employing much meta-talk. Not only can we get along without uttering our meta-messages, it is often embarrassing or disruptive to do so. (Feenberg 1989: 34)
Haven't seen discussion of metacommunication for a while among these papers. His argument here is that in CMC metacommunicative messages are more explicit than in F2F communication.
Many conferences lack weaving because no one has the time or the talent to perform the function for the group. This is unfortunate since, as a written medium, conferencing offers a unique opportunity to reflect upon the agenda of the group. The conference moderator or another participant can review printouts, harkening back to earlier discussions, clarifying confused expressions, identifying the themes, making connections, 'indexing' the material mentally.
Such weaving comments supply a unifying overview, interpreting the discussion by drawing its various strands together in a momentary synthesis that can serve as a starting point for the next round of debate. Weaving comments allow on-line groups to achieve a sense of accomplishment and direction. They supply the group with a code for framing its history and establish a common boundary between past, present and future. [...]
Weaving: To summarise the state of the discussion and to find unifying threads in participants' comments; it encourages these participants and implicitly prompts them to pursue their ideas. (Feenberg 1989: 35)
Oh wow. This is... This is exactly my role in phatic studies at this point. I need to "weave" phatic studies together.
Computer conferencing is an example of what Gilbert Simondon (1958) calls progress through 'concretisation'. Technological advance often proceeds by the integration of apparently separate, externally related functions in a new and more 'concrete' whole. Conferencing can be considered as a concretisation of mail and filing technologies. (Feenberg 1989: 36)
Did Joe send me this paper? I need to ask him about it. Maybe we can reconceptualize our whole undertaking in Simondon's terms. Feenberg's note about conferencing here is of course metaphorical, as Simondon most likely means the process by which, for example, telephone, mp3 player, digital camera, etc. become embodied in a single device. But I see no reason why we can't also use this logic metaphoricall on the meta-level of phatic studies.

al-Qinai, Jamas B. S. 2011. Translating Phatic Expressions. Pragmatics 21(1): 23-39.

The notion that language is not merely referential but serves a communicative purpose with a definite goal has led to the development of the study of 'language in use' or 'discourse'. The 'performative function' of language has thus taken central stage under the sociopragmatic approach. Additional notions such as 'face' and the concept of 'politeness' have shifted the focus to what interactants 'do' with discourse instead of what they 'mean' by a given utterance (Sanchez 2001: 591). (al-Qinai 2011: 23)
In other word, phatic communion is "a mode of action", as Malinowski put it.
In other words, phatic communication is used to establish social relationships rather than impart factual information. In 1960, Jackobson, used the term "phatic function" to refer to the channel of communication that is established to maintain communication. (al-Qinai 2011: 23)
One hurriedly written paper from before also named "Jackobson", but the next token was correct. This author is consistent with this mistake, it is so even in the bibliography.
Robins (1964: 30) used the term 'relevance and idle chatter' to refer to this aspect of human communication that reflects a courteous approach atowards the other interlocutors and reflects one's ethnic background, kinship and social hierarchy. (al-Qinai 2011: 23-24)
Huh. At least he has found a unique source with which I'm not even remotely familiar.
Coulmas (1979: 6) refers to phatic expressions as standard links between what people actually say and what sort of communicative functions their utterances serve to perform. (al-Qinai 2011: 24)
I'm not sure what he means by this.
Part of what the analyst has to do is to reimagine (i.e., interpret) the actual discourse of which the text-as-record is a very impoverished trace. While the semantic component of the text is relatively discernible by textual clues, the interpretation of the expressive-emotional aspect of phatic expressions requires extralinguistic and sociolinguistic references. Otherwise, the pragmatic core of the source language (SL) text may be lost and, therefore, ambivalence in the target language (TL) text may arise for the recipient reader. The misinterpretation and in effect the mistranslation of phatic expressions may misrepresent the author's communicative intention, the social context of the situation as well as the disposition or relationship of the participants in a given communicative act. (al-Qinai 2011: 24)
More on the emotive+phatic connection that the past few papers have noted in some way or other.
According to Miller (1999: 2), all conversations contain phatic communion since one needs to set the tenor of the conversation and establish an attitude towards the speaker in order to take part in the communicative exchange. (al-Qinai 2011: 25)
This point is probably based on the "social sentiment" aspect of Malinowski's phatic communion. Miller, E. 1999. Turn taking and relevance in conversation. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~emiller/index.html
Phatic communion does not always signify lexical inferences. Within a literal interpretation of Leech's Economy Principle (Leech 1983: 67), one may presume that phatic expressions are a case of redundant tautology and, therefore, should be 'reduced where possible' as their elimination does not lead to ambiguity of message. In the words of Newmark (1988: 208), such superfluous expressions should be pruned:
"[...] Redundancies hang particularly loosely around clichés, phatic phrases ('phaticism'), repeated implied superlatives, prepositional phrases, rhetorical flourishes [...] Normally, the translator has to use restraint in excising redundant Sl features, confining himself to pruning here and there, since if he goes too far he is sometimes likely to find the whole text redundant."
(al-Qinai 2011: 27)
Hmmm. I guess as much that phaticism means "phatic phrase", but in my use it is a meta-theoretical concept. Newmark, Peter 1988. A Textbook of Translation. London: Prentice Hall.
Generally speaking, the older the speaker the more likely s/he would be inclined to use phatic expressions. (al-Qinai 2011: 29)
In conjunction with one Russian woman's statement, "Female communication is phatic." this would effectively mean that old women are the most phatic creatures of all. And as detestable as I find these suggestions, having heard conversations between old women on the bus, I cannot disagree.
Another loss in translation occurs upon translating code-mixed phatic expressions. The latter are most noticeable in female colloquial speech as a marker of prestige and high class. Young educated females have a tendency to insert foreign (mostly English or French) lexis to initiate or end their phatic expressions [...] (al-Qinai 2011: 33)
This seems to be a universal phenomenon wherever there is anglophone cultural influence due to movies, television or the internet.
Compared to English, Arabic has a much more versatile inventory of phatic communion expressions. (al-Qinai 2011: 33)
I doubt if that is really the case. And I don't know of a comparative study. Nor am I sure whether such a study could even conducted without a satisfactory definition of phaticity, which we are currently lacking.
All the above examples point towards the fact that it is fallacious to contemplate a faithful rendition of phatics and that instead of mistranslation we may opt for under-translation as a compromise. (al-Qinai 2011: 35)
Where the hell did I get "phatics" in the first place? I'm not even sure anymore. In any case this might be the first time I've seen anyone else besides me and Joe use the plural form.
Bronislav [sic] Malinowski's (1923) definition of phatic communication is somewhat restricted to the oral verbal level. Yet, audible verbal expression is but one form of communication. To successfully conduct a conversation, participants must display a willigness to collaborate and reciprocate through other non-verbal means such as maintaining a friendly body posture, showing attention and avoiding any unnecessary interruptions or disruptive remarks. (al-Qinai 2011: 35)
I think this is so because of etymology of "phatic" ("speech" in Greek). Though he is right about the nonverbal components. And "willingness to collaborate" is very close to "willingness to communicate". And Ruesch treats "maintenance" in terms of "co-operation".
Another non-verbal expression of phatic communion is eye-contact. Co-participants repeatedly focus their eyes on different parts of the face and, occassionally, their eyes meet. The aiming of the eyes is perhaps the principal way in which the interactants can signify their attention and engagement. (al-Qinai 2011: 35)
Right on the money. I couldn't fit it into my only published paper on Jakobson's phatic function, but in the Dorothy Parker short story he quotes the newlyweds are sitting on a train after a wedding and actually look at each other before engaging in their profuse exchange of formulaic utterances.

Burnard, Philip 2003. Ordinary chat and therapeutic conversation: Phatic communication and mental health nursing. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 10(6): 678-682.

This paper offers a definition of 'phatic communication' and identifies examples of it. The paper also illustrates how a knowledge of such communication is useful for mental health nurses in conversation with their clients and colleagues. The importance of turn taking in conversations is also discussed in a cultural context. Various examples of phatic communication are offered. (Burnard 2003: 678)
This has been a long time coming. Give it to us straight like a pear cider that's made from 100% pears. In 5 pages, no less.
Mental health nursing is concerned with the development of close relationships with those who experience problems with living. Communicating through conversation is probably one of the core skills of such nursing. In this paper, the concept of 'phatic communication' is explored. The term is defined, described and then related to mental health nursing. (Burnard 2003: 678)
Relevant context for a common phaticism called conviviality (Blommaert & Varis 2015 edited a whole special issue of Multilingual Margins on the subject. I would have read Ben Rampton's paper in it for the last paper in this post but because the whole issue is dedicated to this topic I'll read it stright through some time).
Phatic communication is an everyday feature of interaction. First used by the anthropologist, Malinowski (1922-1993) - although he used the phrase 'phatic commuinon' - the term is used to refer to 'language used in free, aimless, social intercourse' (Malinowski 1922). Brown & Levinson (1987) observed that for such talk, 'the subject of talk is not as important as the fact of carrying on a conversation that is amply loaded with [...] markers of emotional agreement'. The Hutchinson Encyclopaedia (2000) defines phatic communication as: 'denoting speech as a means of sharing feelings or establishing sociability rather than for the communication of information and ideas'. (Burnard 2003: 678)
I've seen many mentions of Brown & Levinson (1987) in these papers, but none have actually brought out the excerpt where they deal with phaticity. This is great. It's missing page numbers but it's still great. It means that Brown & Levinson were taken to the "common sentiments" aspect. This likens them to La Barre's phatic communication.
Discussing, on the Internet, speech in organizations, Prusak notes:
There's a wonderful phrase used by anthropologists called phatic speech. It's not emphatic, but phatic and that is speech in which it's not the content that matters, but the fact that you're saying it to bond with another person, or doing it as a ritual. It's like saying, 'How are you? to someone. It's a phatic statement. You may not really give a damn. It's sort of ritualistic, and it's saying, 'I acknowledge your presence.' A lot of that sort of speech you're talking about is phatic speech. It means: 'Let's get together. We all trust each other. Here's who we are.' (Prusak 2003)
This paper explores the concept of phatic communication and identifies ways in which being able to identify phatic communication can help mental health nurses in their interactions with patients and clients. We might think of phatic communication as 'ordinary chat' or 'small talk'. (Burnard 2003: 678)
I may not completely agree with the definition as "ordinary chat" or "small talk" (far too simplistic), but I appreciate these obscure sources. Prusak, L. 2003. Storytelling in Organisations. Available at: http://www.creatingthe21stcentury.org/Larry-IID-bonding.html
Sometimes, phatic communication is almost completely devoid of content or formal meaning. Consider, for example, the use of language by young people. It is not uncommon, at present, for younger people to insert the work 'like' into their conversation in a way that has little formal meaning. An example of such use, in a phatic sense, would be the following statement: 'I mean, I was like "wow"!'
The statement has little formal content but is used, perhaps, to indicate a certain emotional tone to the listener. Also, the adoption of a language style that includes the fairly random use of the work 'like' may be used by younger people to exclude older people. In this sense, the phatic communication becomes almost a private language or a means of indicating solidarity between people of the same age. It may also be the language of songs, poetry and rapping. (Burnard 2003: 679)
This goes to show how easy it actually is to confuse the emotive and the phatic functions. Also, consider (in the future) private signs and phaticity.
Phatic communication is important. Without it and with only 'informative' communication taking place between two people, conversations would be stark affairs. Consider, for example, the following exchange:
Do you want to talk?
In private
This, more normally, is 'padded' with a little phatic communication, perhaps as follows:
Do you want to talk about how you are feeling, at all?
Yes, I do, I think...
When is the best time for you to sit down and talk, do you think?
Not at the moment, thanks. I want to be quiet for a bit. Later on this afternoon?
Where, would you feel most comfortable talking?
In private, I think. In your office, perhaps?
Much of the above exchange is redundant, as far as understanding and the passing on of information are concerned. However, we are social animals and we do not communicate simply to pass on information but also to develop relationships. Arguably, the essence of mental health nursing is as much about the development of relationships as it is about the transfer of information. (Burnard 2003: 679)
I thought this was going to be another case of just blurting out how important phatic communion is without giving any justification or illustration, but this is pretty neat. According to this definition, the "irrelevant" or "redundant" parts of speech are all phatic (a view which is difficult to espouse seriously, but it is nevertheless consistent). The conclusion about the social nature of the human animal makes it really surprising that the bibliography does not contain Weston La Barre's The Human Animal (1954).
When we chat in this way, we are, perhaps, saying 'I am friendly, unhostile and I want to know you and acknowledge you!' Extensions of such phatic communication are the catchphrases and short-cuts that families and partners develop in their conversation patterns. These are, perhaps, evidence of another form of 'private languag'. Often a world or two is all that is needed, in day to day conversations, between friends or partners, to convey a wealth of shared ideas. (Burnard 2003: 680)
Convey is not the right word here. Invoke might be. We're not dealing with communication but with communization.
In other words, conversations that are concerned primarily with small talk and with passing the time can be helpful in the nurse-patient relationship. (Burnard 2003: 681)
Much like Drazdauskiene's "situations of leisure" this says something very deep and deeply ignored about phatic communion: that it the talk we engage when we have time at hand and conversation happens to be the most pleasant thing to do. I'm not sure if this is suggested by some aspect of Malinowski's treatment, I'll have to look to this when re-reading or paraphrasing. In any case I'm not sure if anyone has treated this aspect at any length. But "weaving" such neglected aspect together into something bigger is exactly the point of my reading these papers.
Also, of course, those who engage in phatic exchanges are not particularly looking for information. Even though most people probably do not use the term 'phatic communication', they are still aware of its function and value! Indeed, most of us would be surprised if an attempt was made to make 'more' of a phatic exchange than was intended. Consider, for example, the following rather peculiar conversation:
Hi, how are you?
Hi, I'm fine thanks!
When you say 'fine', what do you mean?
Here, the person is, intentionally, challenging the phatic nature of the other person's utterance and, in doing so, creating a disruption in the social exchange. Presumably, such disruption is helpful to neither party. It subverts the phatic communication between the people involved. We do not usually challenge the meanings of phatic utterances as their purpose and value are implicitly understood. (Burnard 2003: 681)
Another worthwhile note. Phaticity is implicitly understood, how to engage in phatic communion is part of the common stock of knowledge. In this regard it would indeed be wise to consult Firth's treatment of it as a sign system. I was doubtful at first but this paper is actually doing a pretty good job at defining and illustrating phatic communion.
There is, of course, room for further research here. While the notion of phatic communication is not an earth shattering one, most advances in research are made by small increments. Perhaps, first, we need to have a clear definition of it so that we can, through observational research, identify the degree to which it occurs in nursing conversations. (Burnard 2003: 682)
Dunno. It was pretty earth shattering for me. Ever since I first read "Linguistics and Poetics" in 2011 I haven't been able to shake it off. Nor does it seem like I will in the foreseeable future.

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