"You understand this one?” “You’re very clear on this one?” Pharmacist’s use of rephrasals to communicate across cultural and language barriers in a South African antiretroviral clinic.
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This study provides an in-depth analysis of the use of rephrasals and their interactional functions in pharmacist-patient interactions in a South African HIV/Aids context. Eighteen video recorded interactions were analysed using conversation analysis. By distinguishing between different categories of repetition and focusing on the use of rephrasals in one type of repetition (pharmacist’s self-repetition), it was shown that rephrasals perform different interactional work. Contingent rephrasals solve interactional trouble in the interaction, for example by recovering a mistake or solving problems in understanding. Contextual rephrasals do not solve interactional trouble; in stead, I argue that this type of rephrasal is an interactional way to make the multilingual and multicultural contexts relevant. More specifically, two aspects of the context were made relevant by the contextual rephrasals: communication across language barriers and answering out of politeness. In conclusion, this study shows how conversation analysis can be used to analyse conversations in a complex context as the one in this study, showing not only that the context influences the conversation, but also which parts of the context influence the conversation.