Facework and Prosocial Teasing in a Synchronous Video Communication Exchange

  • Barry Pennock-Speck Universitat de València
  • Begoña Clavel-Arroitia Universitat de València


This study centres on the analysis of prosocial teasing during a videoconference (telecollaboration) exchange between mixed-gender adolescent secondary school students from Spain and Germany. We contend that the provocative elements present in prosocial teasing activate a play frame, in Gregory Bateson’s terms, in which seemingly hostile face acts can be interpreted as playful behaviour. We argue that successful teasing can ultimately enhance the face of the teaser and that of the person being teased and thus build up rapport between them. Our analysis of the facework in the interaction during this telecollaboration exchange is based on Erwin Goffman’s notions of face, demeanour and deference and stands in opposition to the dominant (im)politeness paradigm put forward by Jonathan Culpeper, which has its roots in Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson’s seminal work.Keywords: facework; teasing; telecollaboration; language learning

Author Biographies

Barry Pennock-Speck, Universitat de València
Barry Pennock-Speck is a senior lecturer at the Universitat de València and is a member of IULMAUV. His research interests include ICTs for teaching and pragmatics. He is currently focusing on facework in various types of discourse. He has published widely and has participated in two projects funded by the European Commission that focus on telecollaboration, TILA and TeCoLa.
Begoña Clavel-Arroitia, Universitat de València
Begoña Clavel-Arroitia is a senior lecturer at the Universitat de València and is a member of IULMAUV. She teaches SLA and TEFL at undergraduate and graduate levels. Within the broad field of English language teaching and learning, her main research focuses on the implementation of ICTresources. She is currently the main researcher in Spain for the European Erasmus+ project TeCoLa.


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