Key words: discourse, business discourse, research, pragmatic aspect, perspectives
Аннотация: В статье рассматриваются сущность делового дискурса, его место в понятии «дискурс»,
основополагающие исследования в данной области в Казахстане и в мировой лингвистике. Чтобы понять сущность
термина «деловой дискурс» необходимо углубиться в понятие «дискурс» вообще.
Российский лингвист Карасик В.И. определяет дискурс с трех позиций: имманентно-лингвистическая,
прагмалингвистическому взгляду и определению. По данному определению, дискурс – это инструмент, который
отражает способы коммуникации веешироком смысле. Казахстанский лингвист Буркитбаева Г.Г. определяет
деловой дискурс как «конкретное, реализованное определенной группой людей в пределах конкретной
коммуникативной интеракционной ситуации дискурса воплощение в текстах, выраженное в форме специальных
жанров. Классикой стало определение, данное учеными Bargiela-Chiappini и Nickerson, которые определяют деловой
дискурс как взаимодействие, которое происходит между личностями, чьи основные действия нацелены на бизнес и
чьи контакты мотивированы деловыми интересами. Политика триединства языков, предложенная Президентом РК
Н.А.Назарбаевым, актуализирует вопрос о более глубоком изучении делового дискурса казахского языка. Так как
ведущая роль в деловом дискурсе отводится английскому языку, мы подчеркиваем важность сопоставительного
изучения прагматического аспекта делового дискурса на материалах данных двух языков.
Ключевые слова: дискурс, деловой дискурс, исследования, прагматический аспект, перспективы
Аңдатпа: Мақалада іскерлік дискурстың мағынасы, оның жалпы дискурс ұғымы аясындағы орны, осы салада
Қазақстанда және әлемде жүргізілген зерттеу жұмыстары қарастырылады. Іскерлік дискурс терминін түсін үшін
жалпы дискурс ұғымын түсіну керек. Ресей лингвисті Карасик В.И. дискурсты үш жақтан қарастырады: имманентті-
лингвистикалық, әлеуметтік лингвситикалық және прагмалингвистикалық. Біздің дискурсты зерттеу бағытымыз
Карасиктің прагмалингвистикалық анықтамасына жақын. Осы анықтама бойынша, дискурс – бұл қарым-қатынастың
кең мағынадағы әдістерін айқындайтын құрал. Қазақстан лингвисті Буркітбаева Г.Г. іскерлік дискурсты былай
анықтайды: «іскерлік дискурс – бұл арнайы жанрларда көрсетілген белгілі бір топ адамдарының жүзеге асыратын
дискурстың нақты интерактивті қарым-қатынас жағдайларында мәтіндердегі көрінісі. Ал Bargiela-Chiappini и
Nickerson ғалымдарының берген анықтамасы іскерлік дискурс зерттеушілері үшін классикаға айналып кетті.
Абай атындағы ҚазҰПУ-нің Хабаршысы, «Филология» сериясы, №1(47), 2014 ж. 51
Олардың анықтамасы бойынша, іскерлік дискурс дегеніміз – іскерлік қызығушылықтарын басшылыққа алып
отырған тұлғалардың арақатынасы. Президентіміз Н.Ә.Назарбаевтың ұсынған үштілдік саясаты қазақ тіліндегі
іскерлік дискурсты тереңірек зерттеуді өзекті мәселе қылып отыр. Іскерлік дискурста негізгі рөл ағылшын тілінікі
болғандықтан, біз іскерлік дискурсың прагматикалық мәселелелерін салғастырмалы тұрғыда екі тіл негізінде
зерттелуінің маңыздылыңын және өзектілігін ерекше атуды жөн көреміз.
Кілт сөздер: дискурс, іскерлік дискурс, зерттеулер, прагматикалық аспект, болашақ зерттеулер
The concepts of “discourse” and “business discourse” The most important criterion of effectiveness in business is the practical results of interrelations which are
based on speech. Inordertogetthepracticalresults, it is necessary to select the functional means of speech which
strengthen pragmatic effect of the speech. So, oneofthemostsignificantissuesisthequestionofthe way
peoplecommunicatestrategicallyinanorganizationalcontext.Linguistsdistinguishthelimitsof business discourse. In
order to understand the nature of the term “business discourse” and to consider it from the viewpoint of our
investigation, it is essential to explain the term “discourse”. As there are too many definitions and interpretations
for the term, we suggest the closest ones to our direction.
Russian linguist V.Karassik describes discourse from three viewpoints: immanent linguistic, sociolinguistic
and pragmatic. Our understanding of discourse can be interpreted by his pragmatic view on the matter. He defines
discourse as a tool which reflects the ways of communication in broader meaning [1; 189]. Here the notion of
“register” by M.Halliday is worthpaying attention to: the researcher distinguishes between various characteristics
of speech connected with the personality of a speaker (dialect) and the used ways and means of communication
(register). And inside the notion of register the author categorizes three main layers: field of activity (e.g. science,
religion, law), tenor - the social role relationships which obtain between the language users in a particular situation
(e.g. teacher-pupil, preacher-congregation, parent-child), medium used (e.g. written, spoken, spoken-to-be-written,
T.A. Van Dijk thinks that discourse is a complex unity of language forms, meanings and actions which can be
characterized by the notion of communication event [2;113]. At the same time discourse is not limited by the
concrete language expression, that is a text, but it also includes thes peaker, addressee, his/her personal and social
characteristics, and o ther parameters of social situation [2; 122].
Discourse analysis has been described as ‘the close study of language in use”, its importance reflected in the
epistemological position outlined earlier. However, this definition has been added by Fairclough: ‘Discourse is
more than just language use: it is language use seen as a type of social practice’ and thus he argues that discourse
analysis is not solely bound to the text but must also involve ‘analysing the relationship between texts, processes,
and social conditions, both the immediate conditions of the situational context and the more remote conditions of
institutions and social structures’[3;29].
Rapidly developing communication oriented discourse theory, which identified as priorities conceptual
cognitive and interactional analysis allowed to focus on the study of " discourse as a text, discourse as a genre and
discourse as a professional practice, discourseas a social practice","discourse as social interaction ".
In addition, currently linguistics has reached such a high degree of complexity when terminology and
intuitively clear habitual concepts underlying become insufficiently defined, and there is an urgent need to
identify, clarify the explicit meanings of their renewed sense within the boundaries of cognitive discourse
paradigm.In such a complex epistemological situation the subject of research is not only the studied phenomenon,
but terms, concepts, statements, assumptions and relevant theories as well, viewed as special phenomena. That is
why kazakhstani linguist G.Burkitbaeva emphasizes the relations among ontological, theoretical and
metatheoretical levels of linguistic knowledge which ontologically justifies the nature of discourse and
particularly business discourse (G.Burkitbaeva) .
Somelinguistsunderstandbusinessdiscourseasanon-fiction, non-colloquial communication as a whole. Some of
them explain it as data to business correspondence which is a rather limited and narrow interpretation. Mostly
business discourse is defined as a language of social action in business contexts.
From stylistic viewpoint, business discourse is interrelated unity of functional varieties of registers used for
business purposes. Businessdiscourseregistersincludetelephonecommunication, businesstalk, business letters,
documentation, contracts, meetings, presentations, negotiations, messages in mass media related to business
The definition given by Bargiela-Chiappini and Nickerson is justly considered to be classical among world
business discourse researchers. It interprets business discourse as the interaction which takes place between
individuals whose main activities are located within business and whose contact is motivated by matters relating
to their respective businesses .
Вестник КазНПУ им. Абая, серия«Филология», №1(47), 2014 г. 52
G.Burkitbayeva defines business discourse as a concrete representation of a text realized by the definite group
of people within the concrete interactive communication situation which is expressed by special genres. Business
discourse as a type of discourse is a speech interaction of people in the definite kind of activity, i.e. their
professional life. . Business discourse is characterized by alimited number of communicants and purposes of
such communications, and its direction to the profitable agreement in business matters.
Evolution of business discourse as a field of research Looking back to the history of the development of spoken business discourse in the world linguistics, we
cannot avoid the influence of such fields and disciplines as discourse-analysis, conversational analysis, the
pragmatics of interaction, genre theory, ethnography, organizational communication, teaching foreign languages.
Especially, we should emphasize the role of such disciplines as Language for Specific Purposes, and exactly,
English for Specific Purposes, which were the original forms and a source for further evolution of business
discourse as a separate field of study. This tendency covered 1970s and the first part of 1980s. However at that
time researcher were interested in how language is used in a specific social context.
In the 1980s the Journal of Business Communication, Business Communication Quarterly, the Journal of
Business and Technology Communication, the Management Communication Quarterly reflected the research of
business discourse in North America. However, those studies also followed some pedagogical direction, and did
not give any new offer in understanding language in corporations.
In the 1990s scientists started working on with the task of defining the field, object, methodology and
approaches in order to understand how business people use language to achieve their purposes.
Nowadays business discourse is founded on the twin notions of discourse as situated action and language at
work. And here we can see that the focus of the field of business discourse has a remote from professional
language (LSP and ESP) and its original pedagogical nature. .
Attention to the role of communication in bargaining (Putnam &Jones, 1982) and the strategic use of language
in negotiation (Donohue &Diez, 1985) continued to be relatively unexplored topics in the literature on negotiation
until quite recently (e.g. Candlin, Maley&Sutch, 1999). The positivist influence of cognitive and behavioural
approaches to the study of language in business setting sremained dominant and language was treated as one of
the dependent variables. It was not until 1986 when Lampi’s seminal monograph on the discourse of negotiation
was published, that studies of negotiation became language-based and began to proliferate. The numerous
publications that date from that time, as evidenced by the following list, are an indication of how influential this
shift to language-based analysis was (e.g. Ehlich&Wagner,1995:Firth,1995: Ulijn&Li,1995;Trosborg,1995;
Jaworski,1994: Graham,1993: Holden &Ulijn, 1992; Mulholland,1991; Neumann, 1991; 1994). The most
representative of these, including a variety of different languages and settings, are the two collections both
published in 1995, edited by Alan Firth, and Konrad Ehlich and Johannes Wagner, respectively. Although
authored by scholars from a variety of disciplines, the research in these collections marks the establishment of a
growing body of discourse analytic and pragmatic studies of real-life language in the workplace.
In a similar way, Konrad Ehlich and Johannes Wagner’s collection (1995) echoes Firth’s discussion on
negotiation through the micro-analyses of authenticor simulated business interactions in Dutch, French, German,
Spanish, Danish, Japanese, British English, American English and Australian English. In their introduction,the
editors note thegrowing interest in business negotiation among practitioners, novices and researchers. They also
recognize that observation of the interactions and audio-recordings are essential to sound research but that issues
of access, data sensitivity and transcription detail often complicate the job of the discourse analyst. Later on,
business discourse researchers are still grappling with the same problems, but have however much more
experience in ethnographic research in corporate and institutional environments.
In 1997 Bargiela-Chiappini and Harris’ work has also been of considerable influence on later work on the
discourse of business meetings. The 1997 study remains of interest as a ground-breaking attempt tounderstandreal
communication involving real business people, and it providescountless examples of the mismatch between the
language taught for meetings and the language used inmeetings .
Researcher Firth presents a range of discourse-based (contextualized) methodologies applied to negotiation
talk, such that the chapters approach negotiation not as an isolated activity, but as an activity embedded in a
variety of workplace interactions (e.g. meetings, intercultural negotiations, technical problem solving, general
practice consultations, travel agency calls, etc.).
Apioneering work onnegotiation for its time, MirjaliisaLampi’s multilevel, micro-analytical discourse analysis
of British business negotiations (Lampi, 1986), firmly established the credentials of language-focused research in
business and international relations. The discourse features that contribute to perceived strategy in negotiation are
Абай атындағы ҚазҰПУ-нің Хабаршысы, «Филология» сериясы, №1(47), 2014 ж. 53
the focus of Lampi’s study, hence her approach concentrates on ‘levels of discoursality’: acts, moves, exchanges
and phases, all converging to form a negotiation ‘encounter’.This terminology will have been familiar to discourse
analysts in the 1980s but the originality of the study lies in the application of these analytical categories to the
study of strategy in real business interactions .
In Russian business discourse history most works are devoted to define its linguistic stylistic peculiarities
(Astaffurova, 1997, Doroshenko, 1995, Malovichko, 2002)and genre varieties(Barakova 1995, Kudlayeva, 2006,
Men Shu, 2005, Trofimova, 2002, Shirinkina, 2001). In this context there were investigated the grammar and
lexical peculiarities of constructions, which are used in business communication (Gaablina, 1998, Mazitova, 1993,
Sharina, 2003). There were also considered some problems of its pragmatic features. (Komleva, 2003; Koltunova,
2005).The researcher also tried to define emotional, expressive and artistic side in business discourse (Nikipelova,
2005, Scherbakova, 2004). Some scholars tried to describe the means of argumentation in business speech
reproduction (Balandina, 2004, Biltyukov, 2006). The objects of interest were also cognitive characteristics of
business discourse (Guryeva, 2003, Shevchenko, 2003), opportunities and ways of its meaning segmentation
(Astafurova, 1997), principles of semantics formalization(Prischepenko, 2006), term system in business
communication (Papazyan, 2007, Yudina, 1996), strategies of grasping and interpretation of professional
communication texts(Malyuga, 2004).
Evolution of business discourse methodology An importantfocus of practice-based research has been to describe business discoursepractices and skills need
in relevant business communities, and to identify and describe salient patterns of communication in or across
different corporate contexts. The study of communication patterns and skills needs in Brazilian firms by Leila
Barbara and colleagues (1996) identified users of business English and Portuguese in different types of business
organizations and determined the communication types (written and oral) most widely used for national and
international business dealings.The investigation was a part of a larger international project (DIRECT: the
Developmenof International Research in English for Commerce and Technology) concerned with describing and
analysing business discourse in relevant contexts in order to provide a research base to support training
programmes in the specific skills identified, as well as the development of teaching materials.
This investigation is an example of a survey-based study that not only provides an extensive overview of the
written and oral communication tasks undertaken by Portuguese business practitioners in a specific region in
Brazil, but also promotes our understanding of the influence aspects of the wider corporate context can have on
communicative practices in organizations which operate internationally.
An important point of interest in studies of business discourse in international contexts has been the use of
English as a lingua franca in, mostly written, text types. Nickerson’s (1999) study provides an insight into the
useofEnglishin one division of a largeDutchmultinationalcorporation. This investigation combined a case study
approach with a text-based corpus investigation featuring a relatively new computer- mediated business discourse
at the time, namely business email (Collot&Belmore, 1996; Gains, 1999; Mulholland, 1999; Gimenez, 2000). As
such, it remains one of the few practice-based business discourse studies to date that have considered
authenticelectroniccommunication produced bynon-native corporate writers of English. Nickerson gives examples
of how Dutch and English interplay in email communication in the Dutch multinational context, and pinpoints the
reasons why and when English is selected as the appropriate code in favour of the local language.
Collecting a corpus of discourse is also a useful research strategy in situations where the researcher wants to
engage in an in-depth linguistic analysis of a specific genre of business discourse or a particular text type. Acorpus
is a body or collection of (written or spoken) texts. There is no fixed size for a corpus, or a specific description of
what it should contain. For example, a corpus could contain the annual reports for 2004 of the top 50 companies in
the Fortune 500, transcriptions of a series of Board meetings at a Swedish bank, or the emails sent and received in
a given month by a customer service employee.
Back translation is one of the most common techniques in crosscultural research, and involves looking for
equivalents in languages through the translation of stimuli, survey items, interview data, central research concepts,
and so on. For example, in experiments involving crosscultural comparisons (e.g., testing the effectiveness of
certain language strategies in two target cultures) back translation can help improve the validity and reliability of
experimental stimuli in the different languages involved. It requires that the quality of translated stimulus material
is verified by an independent translator translating back into the original (source) language. The original and back
translated texts are then compared to determine how equivalent the different versions are, and to clarify or remove
The higher the equivalence achieved between the two versions of the experimental stimulus, the more valid
Вестник КазНПУ им. Абая, серия«Филология», №1(47), 2014 г. 54
and reliable it is considered to be. Back translation is also used in business to develop equivalent advertising texts
across cultures, and to minimize language problems and crosscultural gaffes commonly associated with
international marketing campaigns (see e.g. Brislin, 1980). A statistical analysis (One-way Analysis of Variance:
ANOVA) was used to test whether the three versions of the job add differed with respect to the three dependent
variables (text evaluation; attitudes towards the ad, company and job; and text comprehension). With regard to
text evaluation, no statistically significant differences emerged between the scores on the three versions with
respect to attractiveness and intelligibility. However, the naturalness of the three versions of the ad was assessed
differently by the three groups of respondents. Overall, the completely English version of the ad was regarded to
be more natural than the other two versions.
As a whole, we can say that since the 80-s the methodology of business discourse research has changed
significantly. Particularly, the accent of written discourse has moved to the spoken discourse. The methods have
changed from quantitative to qualitative, from mono-methods to multi-methods, from intra-cultural to cross- and
inter-cultural, from Euro- (US-) centred to “international”, from mono- to multi-disciplinary .
Some perspectives in business discourse research in Kazakhstan As we have mentioned above, cross-cultural approach to business discourse research is one of the most up-to-
date trends in contemporary discourse research. Though there is much donein the world linguistics in this filed,
Kazakhstani business discourse is not studied well. Lack of research in business discourse as in Kazakh, so in
Russian languages made many Kazakh linguists refer to the works of foreign researchers in English business
discourse in order to implement those experiences in kazakhstani reality in future.Today in Kazakhstan English
language business discourse dominates among other foreign languages in the field of communicating with foreign
partners and organizations. Moreover, E.Suleimenova and G.Burkitbayeva emphasize that Kazakh and Russian
languages are influenced much by English. English language business discourse is obviously more developed,
steady, and has more advanced forms of various genres. So, nowadays it dominates in our country and more
demanded, displacing not only Kazakh, but Russian as well . However, the policy The policy of trilingualism
proposed by the President N.Nazarbayev makes us particularly interested in studying business discourse of
Kazakh language. As the leading role is given to English we find it scientifically significant and valuable to make
comparative research of pragmatic aspect of business discourse in two languages. Special attention is given to
cross-cultural approach, English discourse in Kazakhstani organizations and Kazakh discourse in the same
conditions. What is its role? How can the communicants achieve the necessary perlocutionary effect in our non-
native English language environment? Those questions seem particularly interesting for us as a part of speech acts
research and critical discourse analysis. Certainly, authentic cross-cultural business negotiations are panned to be
analyzed. As a comparison, our work also includes a task where pure British and pure Kazakh negotiations will be
Thus, on one hand, business discourse is a field where much significant research has been done. On the other
hand, there are still many untouched questions which must be investigated, and as a result will certainly influence
both on the linguistic part of business discourse and to solving some cross-cultural contradictions in business field
in general. So, our research is aimed to affect as to the theory of discourse and practical business in contemporary
language situation in the country.