Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Small talk and humour essential in working life

Small talk and humour essential in working life

Small talk and humour in the workplace serve to build rapport and define hierarchy, Victoria University of Wellington researchers have found.

Over the last 18 months researchers from Victoria’s Language in the Workplace Project have been analysing conversations on building sites and in eldercare facilities and incorporating the transcripts into English teaching materials for refugees and new migrants, who frequently find employment in these fields.

Description: Description: \\STAFF\DATA\COMT\COMT-Communications\Corporate Communications\Publications\Victorious\2013\Spring 2013\Final copy for layout\Page 2 - Language in the Workplace\Language in the Workplace\Builders3 (681x1024).jpgProject Director, Professor Janet Holmes, says one of the features of the conversations was small talk, which is often puzzling to people from other cultures, but is used by New Zealanders to build rapport.

“It’s important that refugees and migrants understand the function of small talk to help them relate appropriately to their colleagues,” she says.

“It was interesting that in eldercare facilities the caregivers used small talk not only to establish rapport, but also to make potentially embarrassing situations, such as showering, more comfortable for the resident.

“Many of the caregivers knew a lot about their clients’ lives and seemed to genuinely care about them. This contrasted with overseas studies which suggest that caregivers are primarily task oriented, with a tendency towards patronising language.”

The Deputy Director of the project, Dr Meredith Marra, says that humour is an essential part of being accepted in the building community.

“It’s common to be teased and workers are expected to take a certain level of jocular abuse—once they’ve been working there a while they are expected to return the abuse as well.”

She says the team was surprised at the level of awareness of hierarchy evident in talk on the building sites.

“You certainly know who the boss is by the language that is used. Even the teaching of skills is approached differently depending on the status of the person being taught.”

Dr Marra will be presenting some of the team’s findings on humour at the Australasian Humour Scholars Network Colloquium in Wellington in February.

The research was funded by Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
Aotearoa New Zealand (TESOLANZ) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Music: Lorde NZ Tour Confirmed In Four Major Cities!

In what will be her first ever New Zealand headline tour, Frontier Touring and Brent Eccles Entertainment are stoked to bring you four epic shows across the country! The all ages concerts take place late October/ early November in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Poor Economics

A review of and excerpt from Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple’s Child Poverty in New Zealand. More>>

Head Count: Highest Population Growth Since 2003

The country’s population grew by 67,800 people, or 1.5 percent, in the year to 30 June 2014. This came from natural increase (births minus deaths) of 29,500 and net migration (arrivals minus departures) of 38,300. New Zealand's estimated resident population was 4.51 million at 30 June 2014. More>>

Fun-Enhancement: Research To Ensure Even Game For Less Skilled Players

A University of Canterbury engineering PhD student is researching sports, such as table tennis, to ensure closer games for both better and less skilled players. More>>

Werewolf: From The Lost Continent

It’s a case of better late than never for Olivier Assayas’ marvellous After May/Apres Mai, which first screened at Venice in 2012, got a theatrical release in Australia – but not here – and only now appears on DVD, after Assayas himself has moved on. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Blue Eyed & Soulful

Last year’s Muscle Shoals documentary was a reminder that on some of soul music’s most hallowed tracks, the studio band consisted of a bunch of white guys from rural Alabama... More>>

ALSO:

Final Event - Number Crunching: NZ Fifth Best Performer At Commonwealth Games

With a haul of 45 medals, New Zealand has outperformed the best predictions of the world’s number crunchers by 440% and beaten our past performance at the Commonwealth Games by 11% per cent, according to a Massey University finance lecturer. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news