Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Linguistics Vanguard

A Multimodal Journal for the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Bergs, Alexander / Cohn, Abigail C. / Good, Jeff

CiteScore 2018: 0.95

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.381
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.841

See all formats and pricing
More options …

No time to care? Interactional hurriedness in a Japanese nursing home

Peter Backhaus
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of English Language and Literature, School of Education, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2019-06-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2018-0022


The research presented in this paper is based on audio-recordings from a Japanese care facility. I focus on interactional tempo differences between residents and staff. The analysis concentrates on two interrelated phenomena that can be taken as indications of hurriedness on the part of the care workers: overlaps and turn repetitions. Presenting examples for each of the two, I also show that the staff’s hurried performance does not necessarily result in a quicker completion of the care tasks. I go on to reflect on the staff’s likely reasons for doing “being in a hurry,” arguing that apart from real time pressures, the mere display of hurriedness can become an end in itself.

Keywords: age; eldercare; hurriedness; Japan; institutional interaction


  • Akiya, Naonori. 2008. Kōreisha kaigo shisetsu ni miru kaiwa kōzō: nichijō seikatsu ni okeru ji/ta kaiwa bunseki [Conversational structure in a care facility: A conversation analysis of self/other in everyday life]. Hoken iryō shakaigaku ronbunshū 19(2). 56–67. http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110009845359 (accessed 3 March 2018).

  • Backhaus, Peter. 2017. Care communication: Making a home in a Japanese eldercare facility. Abingdon & New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Davidson, Judy. 1984. Subsequent versions of invitations, offers, requests, and proposals dealing with potential or actual rejection. In J. M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action, 102–128. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Duffy, Mignon, Clare L. Stacey & Amy Armenia. 2015. Epilogue. In M. Duffy, A. Armenia & C.L. Stacey (eds.), Caring on the clock: The complexities and contradictions of paid care work, 287–291. New Brunswick et al.: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar

  • Grainger, Karen. 1993a. The discourse of elderly care. Dissertation thesis, University of Wales.Google Scholar

  • Grainger, Karen. 1993b. “That’s a lovely bath, dear”: Reality construction in the discourse of elderly care. Journal of Aging Studies 7(3). 247–262.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Grainger, Karen. 2004. Communication and the institutionalized elderly. In J.F. Nussbaum & J. Coupland (eds.), Handbook of communication and aging research (Second edition), 479–497. Mahwah & London: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

  • Gubrium, Jaber. 1975. Living and dying at Murray Manor. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar

  • Heinemann, Trine. 2009. Managing unavoidable conflicts in caretaking of the elderly: Humor as a mitigating resource. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 200. 103–127.Google Scholar

  • Hosoma, Hiromichi. 2016. Kaigo suru karada [Bodies doing care]. Tokyo: Igaku shoin.Google Scholar

  • Hummert, Mary Lee & Ellen Bouchard Ryan. 1996. Toward understanding variations in patronizing talk addressed to older adults: Psycholinguistic features of care and control. International Journal of Psycholinguistics 12. 149–169.Google Scholar

  • IPSS (National Institute of Population and Security Research). 2018. Jinkō tōkei shiryōshū 2018 nen-ban [Reference material on population statistics, 2018 issue]. http://www.ipss.go.jp/syoushika/tohkei/Popular/Popular2018.asp?chap=2 (accessed 3 March 2018).

  • Jansson, Gunilla. 2016. “You’re doing everything just fine”: Praise in residential care settings. Discourse Studies 18(1). 64–86.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Jansson, Gunilla & Charlotta Plejert. 2014. Taking a shower: Managing a potentially imposing activity in dementia care. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders 5(1). 27–62.Google Scholar

  • Jefferson, Gail. 1989. Preliminary notes on a possible metric which provides for a “standard maximum” silence of approximately one second in conversation. In D. Roger & P. Bull (eds.), Conversation: An interdisciplinary perspective, 166–196. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar

  • Jefferson, Gail. 2004. Glossary of transcript symbols with an introduction. In G.H. Lerner (ed.), Conversation analysis: Studies from the first generation, 13–23. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Kitamoto, Keiko. 2006. Sōsharu wāku ni okeru komyunikēshon bunseki: tokubetsu yōgo rōjin hōmu ni okeru seikatsu bamen o chūshin ni [Analysis of communication in social work: Everyday situations in a nursing home]. Jōsai kokusai daigaku daigakuin kiyō 9. 49–64.Google Scholar

  • Liddicoat, Anthony J. 2011. An introduction to conversation analysis (Second edition). London & New York: Continuum.Google Scholar

  • Marsden, Sharon & Janet Holmes. 2014. Talking to the elderly in New Zealand residential care settings. Journal of Pragmatics 64. 17–34.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Menz, Florian & Ali Al-Roubaie. 2008. Interruptions, status and gender in medical interviews: The harder you brake, the longer it takes. Discourse & Society 19(5). 645–666.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) (2017) Heisei 27 nendo kaigo hoken jigyō jōkyō hōkoku (nenpō) no pointo [Main points of the 2015 report on the situation of care insurance projects]. http://www.mhlw.go.jp/topics/kaigo/osirase/jigyo/15/dl/h27_point.pdf (accessed 3 March 2018).

  • Naitō, Katsuo. 2006. Ninchishō kaigo ni okeru komyunikēshon ni kan suru kenkyū [Research on communication in dementia care]. (Nihon daigaku bunri gakubu jinbun gakka kenkyūjo) Kenkyū kiyō 72. 101–112.Google Scholar

  • Persson, Tove & David Wästerfors. 2009. “Such trivial matters”: How staff account for restrictions of residents’ influence in nursing homes. Journal of Aging Studies 23(1). 1–11.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Plejert, Charlotta, Gunilla Jansson & Maziar Yazdanpanah. 2014. Response practices in multilingual interaction with an older Persian woman in a Swedish residential home. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 29(1). 1–23.Google Scholar

  • Plejert, Charlotta, Camilla Lindholm & Robert W. Schrauf (eds.). 2017. Multilingual interaction and dementia. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar

  • Pomerantz, Anita. 1984. Pursuing a response. In J.M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action, 152–164. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Posenau, André. 2014. Analyse der Kommunikation zwischen dementen Bewohnern und dem Pflegepersonal während der Morgenpflege im Altenheim. Mannheim: Verlag für Gesprächsforschung. http://www.verlag-gespraechsforschung.de/2014/posenau.html (accessed 3 March 2018).

  • Sachweh, Svenja. 1998. Granny darling’s nappies: Secondary babytalk in German nursing homes for the aged. Journal of Applied Communication Research 26(1). 52–65.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Sachweh, Svenja. 2000. “Schätzle hinsitze!Kommunikation in der Altenpflege. Frankfurt: Lang.Google Scholar

  • Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1968. Sequencing in conversational openings. American Anthropologist 70(6). 1075–1095.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Schegloff, Emanuel A. 2000. Overlapping talk and the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language in Society 29(1). 1–63.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wagnild, Gail & Roger Manning. 1985. Convey respect during bathing procedures. Journal of Gerontological Nursing 11(12). 6–10.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ward, Richard, Antony A. Vass, Neeru Aggarwal, Cydonie Garfield & Beau Cybyk. 2008. A different story: Exploring patterns of communication in residential dementia care. Ageing & Society 28(5). 629–651.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wells, Thelma J. 1980. Problems in geriatric nursing care: A study of nurses’ problems in care of old people in hospitals. Edinburgh et al.: Livingstone.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2018-05-15

Accepted: 2018-12-14

Published Online: 2019-06-22

Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, Volume 5, Issue s2, 20180022, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2018-0022.

Export Citation

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in