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Applied Linguistics Review

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Nine Types of Turn-taking in Interpreter-mediated GP Consultations

Shuangyu Li
Published Online: 2015-02-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2015-0004


This research investigated the systematicity of turn-taking organisation in naturally occurring GP consultations where either a professional or an ad hoc interpreter was involved to mediate language discordant doctor-patient talk-in-interaction. I found that participants systematically organise their turns to speak, following one of the nine types of turn-taking organisation identified in this study disregarding the patient’s native language and culture, the type of interpreter and their interpreting proficiency. The effect turn-taking organisation has on communication varies in different contexts. Teaching doctors about the cause and effect relation between turn-taking and communication outcomes may help them improve their clinical communication.

Keywords: interpreting; GP consultations; turn-taking; medical communication; UK


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About the article

Shuangyu Li

Shuangyu Li is lecturer of clinical communication at King’s College London, UK. He has a background in medical education, applied linguistics and conference interpreting. He is interested in using linguistic methodology to investigate communication in clinical settings and linking linguistic analysis with medical education. He is particularly interested in doctor-patient consultations across linguistic and cultural barriers.

Published Online: 2015-02-27

Published in Print: 2015-03-01

Citation Information: Applied Linguistics Review, Volume 6, Issue 1, Pages 73–96, ISSN (Online) 1868-6311, ISSN (Print) 1868-6303, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2015-0004.

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