Profiling Agents and Callers: A Dual Comparison Across Speaker Roles and British versus American English
This chapter attempts to demonstrate how using semi-automated corpus-annotation techniques could “objectify” the evaluation of agent and caller speech in customer contact call centres. This is achieved, in part, by profiling particular speaker or speaker groups through an analysis and comparison of the speech acts and other linguistic features used by Filipino agents and callers from American and British language backgrounds. Results suggest that pragmatics-related features of call centre discourse may be indicative of a speaker’s or speaker group’s performance and language variety. The discussion here demonstrates that it is in fact possible to profile individual speakers or groups in specific ways, as well as to judge their efficiency as communicators, at least to some extent. At the same time, it is evident that the behaviour of the different agents and callers potentially points towards certain preferences in the two varieties of English investigated in this study.
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