In this article we compare advice-giving in academic supervision meetings at Swedish-speaking university departments in Sweden and Finland. Working within the field of variational pragmatics and analyzing interaction in detail we show how Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish supervisors and students, as experts and non-experts in an institutional setting, initiate and respond to advice.

The data consist of video and/or audio recordings of eight naturally occurring supervision meetings. All meetings show a similar pattern regarding the frequency and sequential structure of advice initiation and reception.

The main differences between the two data sets occur in how advice is formulated and acknowledged. In the Sweden-Swedish data, advice is often given with strong mitigation and responded to by upgraded acknowledgements. In the Finland-Swedish data, advice delivery is more succinct and acknowledgements are often neutral.


Henricson, S. & Nelson, M. 2017. Giving and receiving advice in higher education. Comparing Sweden-Swedish and Finland-Swedish supervision meetings. Journal of Pragmatics 109. 105–120. www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03782166