Other-language recalibration in bilingual broadcast news interviews in Rwanda: The directionality of a language choice practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article investigates a language choice practice, referred to as other-language recalibration, which I have observed in news interviews in Rwanda. A recalibration repair is a type of repair in which the trouble source and the repairer have the same referent. In news interviews in Rwanda, the trouble source and the repairer can come from two different languages. It was observed that going from the trouble source to the repairer, language alternation can take either of two directions. It can go from Kinyarwanda to French/English and it can proceed from French/English to Kinyarwanda. Therefore, the article investigates the question whether, in these interviews, language alternation in other-language recalibration is directional. Observation of the data shows that the direction Kinyarwanda – French/English serves the interactional function of word clarification while the direction French/English – Kinyarwanda serves the function of medium repair. In turn, this finding leads to a respecification of the notion of directionality. Traditionally, this concept has been viewed in terms of the social indexicality of the languages involved. The paper proposes that, from an organisational perspective, directionality can be understood in terms of the interactional tasks alternative patterns of language alternation allow participants to accomplish in talk-in-interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-85
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Early online date17 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • bilingual talk-in-interaction
  • directionality of language alternation
  • language alternation
  • news interviews
  • other-language recalibration
  • recalibration repair


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