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The Effect of CMC in Business Emails in Lingua Franca: Discourse Features and Misunderstandings


The paper argues that everyday exchange of business emails produces a development in the work-group relationship, which, in turn, makes new communication styles possible and acceptable by the users' habit to computer-mediated forms, even in unbalanced professional exchanges. The focus is on the (spoken) discourse features of email messages in a self-compiled corpus of selected computer-mediated business emails, produced by five participants over three months (October 2015 – February 2016). The exchange, involving the use of English by non-native speaker interactants (in particular, Business English as a Lingua Franca (BELF)), as well as language adjustments in a computer-mediated exchange, takes the form of a ‘written dialogue’, and closely resembles the features of the spoken discourse. Results confirmed that, despite being the oldest computer-mediated communication technology, emails constitute a ‘not yet conventionalized’ communication mode that is influenced by the push email system, and provide a new (dynamic) communicative frame.