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MTA Lendulet Interactional Ritual Research Group



This is the Research Institute for Linguistics site of the MTA Lendulet Interactional Ritual Research Group (a project website will be set up and linked in here soon).

The Interactional Research Group aims to explore the phenomenon of interpersonal ritual in the context of intercultural communication. The word “ritual” popularly describes ceremonies. However, from the linguist’s point of view it encompasses something much broader: it includes all kinds of routinised practies through which members of a community work out and maintain what they regard as the ‘appropriate’ flow of events in interpersonal interaction. This perceived ‘appropriate flow’ is described in the field of interaction studies as the ‘moral order’ of things: through being socialised into communal life, people inherit a perception of how language should be used in particular interpersonal relationships, and they evaluate breaches of these norms of language use through moral lenses, such as ‘inappropriate’, ‘improper’, ‘rude’ and so on. Rituals thus play a very important role in our daily lives: their use spans business negotations, through recurrent jokes between colleagues, to asking for a date.

Interactional rituals become particularly important in intercultural communication, i.e. conexts in which people from different cultural backgrounds interact with each other. As moral and cross-cultural psychology reveals, different cultures – inclduing both national and other aspects of culture – have different value systems, and so there are potential mismatches between the routinised practices of people from different cultural background. Such mistmatches may manifest themselves in very simple things such as whether one should greet an assistant when entering a shop, keep a business card on the table or rather put it away during a business meeting, and so on. They also manifest themselves in very complex things, such as whether one should intervene in a scene of public abuse, and if yes, what kind of language is one supposed to use. The study of this theme represents a key area in linguistic (im)politeness research and broader socio-pragmatics.

The intercultural examination of interactional ritual practices is interesting as it provides insight into the interface that exists between language, culture and morality, and so it opens up new academic vistas. The research of this topic also has an important practical impact: it helps us to understand the motivating factors behind language use in other cultures. Our Research Group examines this theme by focusing on intercultural communication in various contexts and languages, including English, Hungarian, Chinese and Romani languages.


The Research Group consists of the following members:

Kádár, Zoltán Dániel, Research Professor of Pragmatics & Research Group Leader        

Szalai, Andrea, Research Fellow

Ning, Puyu, Research Fellow

In addition to current group members, we will soon recruit a part-time junior research staff member.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED TO GET INVOLVED: We welcome acadmic visitors, PhD applications and applicants who intend to join us via international/Hungarian grant schemes. If you are interested, please contact Dániel Kádár. Our Research Group’s working language is ENGLISH, so visitors do not need to having any Hungarian language skill.



Last modified: 18.09.2017