Misunderstanding is a pervasive phenomenon of social life, sometimes with serious consequences for people's life chances. Misunderstandings are especially hazardous in high-stake events, for instance job interviews or in the legal system. In what is known as unequal power encounters, unsuccessful communication is regularly attributed to the less powerful participant, particularly when those participants are members of an ethnic minority group. By adopting a range of different theoretical perspectives on misunderstandings, this book sheds light on the many causes and consequences of misunderstandings in language use. This volume examines such problematic talk, including socializing occasions and story telling, education and assessment activities, and interviews in TV news broadcasts, employment agencies, legal settings, and language testing.
Juliane House is the Professor of Linguistics, at the University of Hamburg.Gabriel Casper is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Haiwaii, Manoa.Steven Ross is Professor in the School of Policy Study, at the Kwansei Gakuin University, Sanda/Kobe in Japan.