Playback: An Investigation of the Discursive Implications and the Pragmatic Functions of Repetition in Traditional Chinese Medical Consultations

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The current study examined a role-related difference in the use of playback (one form of repetition) in medical discourse. We adopted a language and social psychology approach and invoked communication accommodation theory (CAT) to explore this discourse. Thirty doctor/older adult dyads were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Findings suggested that the deployment of repetition is a strategy used by the addresser to either complement or converge to the other interlocutor, in order to ensure that the medical instrumental task is efficiently accomplished and interpersonal rapport is established. Our results show that discourse management is the dominant strategy used by speakers when playing back the other’s utterances. Our analysis also demonstrates that CAT strategies work interdependently. We conclude that CAT is a valuable framework to elucidate the dynamics of, and the social psychological processes underlying, the practice of repetition in medical interviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-737
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • communication accommodation
  • playback
  • traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

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