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Analyzing politeness strategies in an interpreted encounter

by Luce Aubry

Poster Session

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At Framingham State University, the ASL/English interpreting curriculum includes a half-credit course entitled Communication Dynamics in Interpreted Encounters. This junior-year course explores concepts from the discipline of communications that are relevant to the work of interpreters. Among the concepts explored are: identity and frames, participation framework, facework and politeness strategies, and rapport management. In the modules on facework and politeness strategies, students analyze a video obtained from digiterp.com entitled “In Trouble at School” in which a high-school counselor (non-Deaf) is meeting with a parent (Deaf) regarding her son’s use of marijuana on school grounds. After covering the concepts of facework and politeness strategies in class, students watch/listen to the encounter between the parent and the counselor and identify positive, negative, and off-the-record politeness strategies used by the counselor and the mother as they negotiate their way to an agreement as to how to handle the consequences of this infraction of school policy. The poster will present a summary description of positive and negative face and the politeness strategies used to meet an interlocutor’s face needs, the assignment prompts, and samples of student work. The source video will be available for viewing.

Participants will be able to:

  • View the Digiterp source video and identify face needs of the interlocutors.
  • Identify some of the politeness strategies used by the interlocutors.
  • Record ideas for how to follow up this learning activity with exercises in conveying politeness markers in ASL.

A white woman with short brown hair wearing red-rimmed glasses smiles at camera in front of yellow wallLuce Aubry, ALM, CI/CT, is Assistant Professor in the American Sign Language Program at Framingham State University in MA where she teaches courses in interpreting, linguistics, communication, research, and ethics. She served as a rater for the state interpreter screening system under the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and for the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education. She developed the interpreter screening system for the state of New Hampshire. Born and raised in French Canada of Deaf parents, she counts French and LSQ among her languages. She has published French-to-English translations of articles about interpreting in the Journal of Interpretation and in Sign Language Studies.