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Learn how to greet people. You've finished everything on your pathway. Add a new path? Study Now. Lessons Advanced Lesson Search. Dictionary View All Dictionary Results. A similar situation exists in Austria where IKEA staff are encouraged to use du with customers, but according to a year-old female IKEA worker it does not happen, because it is not practical Sedlaczek, Without exception, the prospective co-worker is addressed directly and always with T.
Not at all. Yes, running a fashion shop is a job you can be proud of. There are two sets of video clips, with one in English profiling four American co-workers and one in German with four German co-workers.
For countries where neither English nor German is a national language, some showcase the German clips, others the American and yet others use a mix. We will limit our observation to the European countries which make use of the German store manager clip, because this particular clip has the most instances of direct address: 1 the male store manager asks a young female co-worker if she has finished with a certain display Bist du fertig?
In all three situations he uses the T form, du. The use of du to a customer in a German-speaking context would appear quite marked cf. However, while this is often the case, it is not yet the norm: several people in manager positions who were interviewed for the address project pointed out the importance of preserving social distance between themselves and subordinate staff as a means of protecting the dignity of both parties in case of a conflict Clyne et al.
Table The Russian voice-over uses V vy throughout, Table Well done. A construction without an address pronoun is quite idiomatic in these situations and there is no other way of signalling T or V since neither Danish nor Swedish verbs are conjugated for person.
The Italian voice-over preserves T address to the co-workers but avoids direct address in the encounter with the customer: Posso aiutare? These findings also demonstrate that reality at the local level might override company policy decisions as evidenced in the otherwise overall use of T in the job descriptions.
The fact that the French subtitles retain T in the second situation could reflect a general tendency in French workplaces to be more hierarchical than, e. For example, in when IKEA Germany introduced T in public customer communication, for example in the catalogue and advertisements, it was followed by extensive commentary online, in blogs and discussion forums, with many expressing negative sentiments Kretzenbacher, In Austria, informal address was introduced earlier Kretzenbacher, but has nevertheless been Language Policy in Practice an object of some resentment.
However, the IKEA policy of addressing customers informally with T has little to do with intimacy and is often interpreted as a conscious strategy to build a certain image. For many, this emblematic T is non-problematic, as illustrated by our address project data where participants were asked what their view was of companies such as IKEA that are generally thought to prescribe the T form.
For those who primarily interpret the use of T in this kind of setting as an expression of younger people, it can be a sticking point.
For older German customers, the constant use of T can seem provocative Knapp, ; Sick, , and the same generational gap seems to exist in Austria with younger customers accepting informal address much more readily and even expecting it Sedlaczek, However, there is also evidence of a distinction being made between general use of T in, for example, the catalogue and advertising materials and particular use of T directly to an individual customer. When participants in the address project commented that the IKEA du is typical for the company image and their Swedish origin, it is this general T with no particular addressee that is referred to.
When T address concerns individual customers, however, the judgement is often more critical and negative. While the use of du and first names has become increasingly common in the German workplace, there are those who see a danger in the informal address practice in that it blurs hierarchies, which could be detrimental to conflict resolution Clyne et al.
The question seeking opinions about companies that prescribe the use of T was interpreted by the French interviewees as referring to prescribed T in the workplace as opposed to the research sites in Austria, Germany, Sweden and Finland where it was interpreted as a question about customer interactions.
Nevertheless, the use of T is not consistent across cultures, and in actual customer interaction the use of V is much more common than the popular perception of the company policy suggests. This practice contrasts starkly with the otherwise uniform use of T in addressing prospective co-workers. Prescribing a certain address behaviour that has its origin in a particular culture, in this case Sweden, and implementing it in another culture as part of company language policy could serve as a means of making a particular point or to construct a certain company image.
It is, never- theless, not a risk-free enterprise, as language users in different speech communities may very well react negatively towards such policies, which may seem intrusive and not culture sensitive. Our investigation confirms that such tensions exist between prescribed behaviour and reactions within certain speech communities.
There is not a single reference to Sweden on the website, and the images Part 3: Language Policy in Real and Virtual Worlds and models we encounter convey a sense of global youthfulness that resonate just as well with consumers in Berlin, Tokyo or Helsinki. In the context of work, however, both companies advocate the use of T in the workforce, regardless of position or status. Notes 1.
References Ahlgren, P. Brown, R. Sebeok ed. Style in Language pp. Clyne, M.