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A sociolinguistic investigation of sources of interactional asynchrony and synchrony in intercultural medical consultations in the medium of English in an urban setting in South Africa.

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This thesis examines sources of interactional asynchrony and synchrony in intercultural medical consultations between South African English speaking doctors and Zulu-English speaking patients in an urban setting in South Africa. It employs, principally, the theory and methods of Interactional Sociolinguistics to identify and describe sources of asynchrony and synchrony in medical encounters. The thesis provides a review of the South African and international literature relevant to the analysis of doctor-patient interaction. Having noted the significant absence of research that utilizes a model of language use such as Interactional Sociolinguistics, the author reviews South African and international interactional sociolinguistic research literature with a view to identifying an appropriate research framework for the analysis of selected medical consultations. The thesis reports the findings of the fine-grained analyses of three consultations. The societal consequences of the asynchrony evident in two of the consultations are explored drawing, in particular, on insights provided by Critical Language Study. The relative synchrony of the third consultation is traced to the participants' use of positive politeness strategies to generate the "co-membership" of maleness. The significance of this discovery is explored in some depth. Finally, attention is given to further research possibilities arising from the present study.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1995.


Theses--Linguistics., English language--Social aspects., Intercultural communication., Communication--Social aspects., English language--Social aspects., Theses--Linguistics., Physician and patient.