Communication & Medicine, Vol 13, No 3 (2016)

Language brokering in multilingual caregiving settings

Gunilla Jansson, Cecilia Wadensjö
Issued Date: 16 Jun 2017

Abstract


Using the methodology of conversation analysis to examine audio-recorded multi-party conversations between a Swedish-/Farsi-speaking resident and multilingual staff in a Swedish residential home, this article describes a practice for establishing shared understanding by one caregiver enacting the role of language broker. The focus is on caregiving settings where caregivers assist an elderly person with her personal hygiene. We demonstrate how brokering is used to (1) maintain the conversational flow in a small talk sequence and (2) address the contents in the resident’s complaints. The article thus advances our understanding of language brokering as an activity that multilingual staff in a linguistically asymmetrical workplace setting take on to assist a colleague in performing client-oriented activities.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.26400

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