Across languages and cultures: Brokering problems of understanding in conversational repair

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Abstract

This article examines the interactional construction of language competence in bilingual immigrant communities. The focus is on how participants in social interaction resolve problems of understanding that are demonstrably rooted in their divergent linguistic and cultural expertise. Using the methodology of conversation analysis to examine mundane video-recorded conversations in Russian-American immigrant families, I describe a previously unanalyzed communicative practice for solving understanding problems: by one participant enacting the role of a language broker in a repair sequence. The article thus contributes to the existing research on the interactional construction of language competence, on the one hand, and on the organization of repair and its relationship to social epistemics, on the other. (Language brokering, repair, conversation analysis, social epistemics, multiparty conversation, Russian, immigrant families, intercultural communication)*

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-121
Number of pages25
JournalLanguage in Society
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

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