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The quotative ‘he/she says’ in interpreted doctor–patient interaction

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This article examines the different functions of the quotative ‘he/she says’ in an interpreter’s renderings during four medical interviews (Dutch/Russian). First, the quotative is typically used for renderings of doctors’ turns, where it serves to signal a switch in the participation framework and to segment long discourse units by the doctor. Second, in some renderings of the patients’ turns, the quotative also has a disambiguating function, clarifying the status of the interpretation either as a literal one or as an addition to a previous summary translation. Finally, in both types of interpretation the quotative also has a distancing function. However, the situations in which this function occurs vary: in the case of doctors’ turns, distancing occurs when face-threatening or dispreferred information is being given, while in the case of patients’ turns, it serves to co-construct the typical asymmetrical doctor–patient relation.
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Keywords: asymmetry; discourse analysis; medical interaction; quotative

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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