2019. № 2 (20), 227-241

 Vienna University of Economics and Business


In this article, we analyze metacommunicative elements in authentic business communication— not in prescriptive codices and manuals—with actual examples from business meetings and job interviews. In the latter the role of participants is predetermined, whereas in business meetings communication happens at different hierarchical levels. The corpus for this analysis is the same as in the Russian-Austrian joint project of discourse analysis of Russian Corporate communication [Milechina, Ratmajr 2017: 214, 259].

The aim of this paper is to show which functions particular metacommunicative elements fulfill and how they are formulated. Speakers use different verbs to express the act of speaking like for instance: talk, speak, mention, note, have a talk with someone, list, determine, discuss item by item. We also find metacommunicative formulas like for in- stance, let’s put it this way, so to speak, how can I tell you. They occur in the meetings in three types of speech acts: in directive acts the speaker wants to commit the addressee to a particular verbal action, in assertive acts the speaker agrees to, or confirms, statements as being true or factual, and in commissive speech acts the speaker promises to commit himself to a particular verbal action.

The thematic focus in meetings is direct or, less frequently, indirect speech about the topics of the speech. Normally it is the leader, who decides the topics, but if all participants are of the same level, they all decide the topics together. In directive speech acts someone who has to perform informative speech acts or give orders to do something is appointed.

In job interviews, the interviewer determines the topics on which the interviewee is required to speak. In the corpus, we also found metacommunicative formulas in which the job applicant is asked to speak less or in a more concise way. In other words, the applicant is asked to apply Paul Grice’s postulate of quantity. In the paper, one can find examples of all types of metacommunicative text fragments in authentic meetings and job-interviews.