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How sign language interpreters use multimodal actions to coordinate turn-taking in group work between deaf and hearing upper secondary school students

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This study examines interpreted group work situations involving deaf and hearing senior high school students, using Norwegian Sign Language and spoken Norwegian. The research question is: how does the sign language interpreter explicitly coordinate turn-taking in group work dialogues among deaf and hearing students? Video recordings of authentic learning situations constitute the basis for analysis of how a sign language interpreter uses multimodal actions to convey information that is used by the deaf and hearing students in establishing a shared focus of attention and thus coordinating their turn-taking. Five types of actions were recurrently identified: construction of visual gestures; timing of the interpreter’s input; use of gaze to negotiate for the deaf students’ speaking turns; left-right shifts in body position to convey information about which of the hearing students is speaking; and backward-forward shifts in body position to negotiate for shared attention. The analysis draws mainly on concepts developed by Goffman (1959, 1981), Goodwin (1994, 2000, 2007) and Wadensj√∂ (1998). The discussion examines implications for the educational interpreter’s role set (Sarangi 2010, 2011), and the dual responsibility s/he fulfils by not only interpreting the students’ utterances, but also explicitly coordinating their interaction.
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Keywords: sign language interpreting, multimodal, video-analysis, explicit coordination, turn-taking, role set

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 26, 2018

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  • International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting
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