7. Gaze, positioning and identity in interpreter-mediated dialogues

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Although very little has been published specifically on the study of gaze in interpreter-mediated dialogues, there has been some evidence that gaze direction is an important device for showing attention and for the distribution of turns. In this chapter, analysis of gaze shifts based on video recordings of immigration interviews reinforces previous findings in the field. It also shows that gaze not only has a function in signalling attention and co-ordinating turns to talk, it also regulates patterns of participation. In particular by their patterns of gaze and other non-verbal signals, all participants position themselves and others within the exchange. In this way, the interplay of patterns of gaze is closely bound up with role and status – and, therefore, with issues of identity and power.


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