The Use of Utterance Completions in Expressing Empathy: An Analysis of Simulated Medical Consultations in English as a Lingua Franca

Conference: The European Conference on Language Learning (ECLL2020)
Title: The Use of Utterance Completions in Expressing Empathy: An Analysis of Simulated Medical Consultations in English as a Lingua Franca
Stream: Plurilingualism - Bilingualism
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Authors:
Yukako Nozawa, Waseda University, Japan

Abstract:

This paper reports a part of my PhD research, that is, how student doctors (SDs) express cognitive empathy to the simulated patients (SPs) during the simulated medical consultations in English as a lingua franca (henceforth ELF) by using conversation analysis. Empathy has been widely understood as a core element of doctor-patient communication and thus affecting healthcare outcomes of the patients. However, linguistic and behavioural aspects of empathy have been under-researched (e.g., Pedersen, 2010), specifically in the communication between doctors and patients from different lingua-cultural backgrounds, although English becomes a dominant language for international communication in the medical contexts around the world (e.g., Tweedie and Johnson, 2018). The data consists of twelve sessions of simulated medical interviews during medical English classroom at a university in Japan. The participants are twenty SDs and six SPs from different lingua-cultural backgrounds. The results show that empathic expressions become more explicit as the consultation proceeds, which is compatible with the previous quantitative studies (e.g., Morse et al., 2008), and it is frequently delivered in the form of utterance completions (e.g., Sacks, 1992), which is the signal of the mutual understanding and cooperative attitudes of ELF interaction (e.g., Cogo and Dewey, 2012). I will further analyse and discuss why empathy tends to appear at the later stages of medical consultation, and conclude this presentation by giving implications for pedagogy and future research.