“Do you understand?” Interactional strategies in ELF narratives of migration. A case study


This article investigates the use of interpersonal discourse markers and comprehension checkers in elicited migrant narratives in English and Italian Lingua Franca with a view to identifying and describing their pragmatic function in the situated exchanges in which they occur. The study was conducted on a small corpus of interviews to asylum seekers living in Southern Italy. The interviews were clearly framed (and fully understood by the participants) as non-institutional encounters (Sarangi, Roberts 2008) and, as such, not subject to the constraints normally applicable to migration narratives produced within the framework of asylum seeking procedures. This resulted in a reduction in the goal-orientedness of the narrative, with a parallel increase, in some cases at least, in interpersonal focus. The analysis of the linguistic resources deployed by the interviewees indicates that they are fully cognizant of the expressive potential of interpersonal discourse markers, which they use to establish rapport with their interlocutor and to create a shared common ground where both parties are construed as being on an equal footing with respect to linguistic, discursive and relational resources.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v38p87


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