Lingua Franca Interaction in Mobility Turns During an Asian Campus Tour

Author: David Aline, Yuri Hosoda (Kanagawa University)
Speaker: David Aline, Yuri Hosoda
Topic: Linguistic Anthropology
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


This conversation analytic study, positioned in the field of applied sociolinguistics, examines interaction coordinated between guides and visitors or for achieving mutual orientation to focal objects in a campus tour through use of Japanese as a lingua franca.

Our study advances research on the construction of interaction in diverse mobile situations, focusing on the ‘mobility turn’ as a semiotic resource (Haddington, Mondada, & Nevile, 2013; Hosoda & Aline, 2018), by analyzing mutual orientation to physical objects in the immediate surround. It builds on work showing how tour participants construct physical places and establish objects in and through mobile interaction (Broth & Lundström, 2013), and research demonstrating how participants make use of multimodal practices in achieving action at the beginning of sequences through deployment of questions, noticings, and comments (De Stefani & Mondada, 2014).

The video-recorded data come from a 40-minute tour at a Taiwanese university in which two Taiwanese students acted as guides for one American professor visiting from a Japanese university. The participants naturally selected Japanese as the common language because the students’ major was Japanese and the professor was proficient in Japanese.

We examined sequences in which the two guides and visitor physically stopped to observe and discuss certain objects. Analysis revealed that althoughoverall route was decided by the guides, the majority of instances of orientation to focal objects were visitor initiated. We found that initiation of attention to focal objects was achieved through cessation of forward movement, body rotation, mutual gaze orientation, deictic gestures, and questions beginning with deictic expressions. As the visitor stopped, the guides, who were constantly paying attention to the visitor’s movement and gaze direction, moved their gaze to the object the visitor was at that moment orienting to, thus achieving mutual orientation to the materializing surround (Goodwin, 2000). The participants’ behavior of allowing the visitor to initiate discussion of a focal object contrasts with tours in previous research where experienced guides called attention to focal objects (De Stefani & Mondada, 2014).

The findings add to previous research by demonstrating that both the activity of transitioning between locations through walking and the related language produced are pivotal resources for achieving mutual orientations to focal objects during mobile interaction.

Keywords: conversation analysis, mobility turn, lingua franca