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Response practices in multilingual interaction with an older Persian woman in a Swedish residential home
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Scandinavian Languages.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, ISSN 0169-3816, E-ISSN 1573-0719, Vol. 29, no 1, 1-23 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the present case study, a care encounter between an older multilingual (Farsi/Swedish/English) Persian woman and staff in an ordinary, Swedish residential home is investigated. The woman is perceived as suffering from dementia symptoms, but has not received any formal diagnosis of the disease. More specifically, the study focuses on how the woman's contributions in her mother tongue, Farsi, are responded to by a carer, who is also multilingual and speaks Swedish as a second language (L2), but has a very limited knowledge of Farsi. The data consists of recorded material from a mundane morning activity in the residential home, as the woman is undressed and prepared to go to the shower. The method employed is conversation analysis, and the study addresses the interactional outcome of this type of multilingual encounters, highlighting the way the establishment of mutual understanding is negatively affected by the fact that the participants do not or only to a limited extent share a common language. Analysis of the data shows that most of the woman's contributions in Farsi are responded to in L2-Swedish by the carer, primarily by means of seven different response practices: soothing talk, instrumental talk, minimal responses, explicit expressions of understanding, mitigating talk, questions, and appraisal. The findings are discussed in light of new demands on Swedish (and Western) care- and health care systems to adapt to the increasing number of multilingual, older people, who will become residents in care facilities and attend day centers within the coming years.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 29, no 1, 1-23 p.
Keyword [en]
Conversation analysis, dementia, ethnic minorities, multilingual interaction, older people's care, residential care
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Linguistics; Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101571DOI: 10.1007/s10823-013-9217-2OAI: diva2:704307
Care work as language wrok. Restrictions and affordances with Swedish as a second language in the new work orderA life with dementia. Personhood, citizenship and identity
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-1016Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, M10-0187:1
Available from: 2014-03-11 Created: 2014-03-11 Last updated: 2015-03-13Bibliographically approved

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Plejert, CharlottaJansson, Gunilla
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