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Investigating the language-culture nexus in refugee legal advice meetings

Reynolds, Judith 2020. Investigating the language-culture nexus in refugee legal advice meetings. Multilingua 39 (4) , pp. 395-429. 10.1515/multi-2019-0048
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his paper explores linguistic and cultural complexity within immigration legal advice communication. Drawing from a linguistic ethnographic study, ethnographic and interactional data from two linked advice meetings about UK refugee family reunion processes are subject to deductive analysis using Risager’s model of the language-culture nexus, within which the intersection of language(s) and culture(s) in a communicative event is conceptualised as a nexus of linguistic, languacultural, discursive, and other (non-linguistic) cultural resources and practices. The paper operationalises this intercultural communication theory in a new and exploratory way to investigate how cultural complexity is manifest, and interactionally managed, at different levels of meaning. The substantive analysis shows how a range of divergent resources, brought in by the different participants, are drawn upon and externalised as communicative practices in both legal advice meetings. Understanding is negotiated interculturally at different levels of meaning – the linguistic, the languacultural, and the discursive – in contrasting ways in each meeting. Methodologically, the paper argues that a strength of Risager’s framework is that it supports a methodical and structured analysis of communicative events characterised by linguistic and cultural complexity, which can be linked to other discourse analytical approaches. The model’s complexity, and its foregrounding of verbal over other semiotic modes, are highlighted as challenges for the analyst.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter
ISSN: 0167-8507
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 December 2019
Date of Acceptance: 17 December 2019
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2020 12:19

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