Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 1, No 1 (2004)

Applying corpus linguistics in a health care context

Svenja Adolphs, Brian Brown, Ronald Carter, Paul Crawford, Opinder Sahota
Issued Date: 28 Aug 2013


This paper draws on two strands of research and practice in language studies, namely i) studies of communication in health care encounters, and ii) studies of language corpora. It aims to delineate an area of ‘applied clinical linguistics’ which draws on these existing sub-disciplines so as to enhance our knowledge of communicative events in clinical settings. To illustrate the potential we draw upon a corpus-informed study of communication in staged telephone conversations between callers and advisers in the UK’s ‘NHS Direct’ health advisory service. Here, the combined application of corpus linguistics and conversation analytic techniques has revealed several hitherto undisclosed features concerning strategies used by health advisors to position the caller as the subject of the interaction, give credentials to the advice and terminate the encounter with a ‘convergence coda’. The integrated approach which combines corpus linguistic methods with existing frameworks in text analysis of health care contexts seems to offer new possibilities of data and theory building, as well as becoming a resource for practitioners themselves in clinical field settings.

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DOI: 10.1558/japl.v1.i1.9


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