When children translate: A multimodal exploration of conversation between teachers, children and parents

Start:  Mar 08, 2018     05:00 PM
End:    Mar 08, 2018     06:30 PM

Location: Room 803, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL


For many transnational families who arrive in Britain, access to a number of necessary services, such as the local GP, schools and even the local council, is made difficult by language barriers.

In these instances where people find themselves in need of an impromptu translator, many families rely on their children to mediate both language and culture between adults in the family and third-party individuals.

Child language brokering (CLB), which is the term coined for such interactions, is recorded as taking place in a variety of settings.

This session explores the interactions between two child-mother-teacher triads during a parent teacher meeting in an after-school setting. Through the use of conversation analysis with a focus on embodied multimodality, Sahra Abdullahi uncovers how turn-taking is managed multimodally during the interactions, and discusses how participants’ identities are negotiated.

About the speaker

Sahra Abdullahi is currently working as a research assistant in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media at the UCL Institute of Education on an ESRC funded project about Family Language Policy. The project on multimodality presented in this session was first submitted as her dissertation her Applied Linguistics MA.


The Visual and Multimodal Research Forum is a platform for academic discussion on multimodality which is free and open to all postgraduate research students and other researchers from both UCL and other universities.


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