Assessments, interrogatives and semi-scripted talk in managing a restriction on advising

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This chapter examines the ways in which call takers on a mental health information line manage a particular interactional task in a restricted environment. Call takers the line are not allowed to provide advice to callers, and their main remit is to provide information so that callers are empowered to make their own choices on how to act. In the cases discussed below however, the call takers must inform callers that they need to engage in one specific course of action if they wish to access mental health services through the National Health System. The use of assessments, interrogatives, and semi-scripted talk, is shown in the analysis to allow the call takers to deliver this single, specific course of action to callers, while avoiding turns that are hearable as advice or recommendations on how to proceed. This interactional work is achieved through managing the issues of asymmetry and normativity that may otherwise make their talk hearable as advice.


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