Measuring bilingual accommodation in Welsh rural pharmacies
This paper introduces a method to address the theoretical and practical question of whether speech accommodation aids compliance in bilingual healthcare settings. It describes a method to measure bilingual speech accommodation in interviews between pharmacists and patients about the use of regularly prescribed medication. The method involves calculating the relative proportion of Welsh and English words in segments of the transcripts and using a formula which we devised to measure how much the speaker changes his or her proportion of Welsh versus English words over time in relation to the proportion being used by the interlocutor. Positive scores indicate convergence, negative scores divergence, and a score of zero indicates neither convergence nor divergence. The findings suggest that speech accommodation is widespread within bilingual clinical encounters and there are complex factors at work that influence the dynamics of the bilingual healthcare consultation. Refining methods for measuring accommodation will shed further light on this phenomenon and offer opportunities for enhancing communication skills training for healthcare professionals.