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Title: Investigating the motivation behind language alternation in the multilingual medical workplace : a study of language practices at King Abdul Aziz Specialist Hospital, Saudi Arabia
Author: Almathkuri, Jalal Haris
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 6155
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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This study investigates the use of Language Alternation (LA) between Arabic and English by the employees of King Abdul Aziz Specialist Hospital (KASH) from a socio-cultural perspective in order to explore the motivation behind LA practices in this multilingual medical workplace. There were 75 participants including doctors, nurses, and administrative employees. Most of the participants are Saudis, however some of them are nationals of other Arab countries and others are nonArab, in both cases having different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Data for this qualitative study were collected through observations, recording of naturally occurring interactions, and individual semi-structured interviews. The duration of the recorded material is nearly 35 hours. Using a combination of Interactional Sociolinguistics (Gumperz 1982), Politeness Theory (Brown & Levinson, 1987 and Scollon, et al., 2012), and Accommodation Theory (Giles & Powesland, 1975; Giles, 1973; Giles et al., 1987 and Giles, et al., 1991) as a theoretical framework, the findings from the data were grouped in themes and analysed in order to find out the reasons for and functions of LA. The results of the analysis indicate that the use of LA among the employees of KASH was generated by two major types of factors: institutional factors, due to which participants appeared to switch from one language to another because of conditions and/or constraints arising from the institutional setting, and cultural factors, which appeared to result in participants alternating between Arabic and English due to certain cultural beliefs and norms delineating cultural differences and overcoming cultural issues arising from the use of a foreign language. The major findings of this study include that LA is used to resolve communication difficulties, to facilitate effective communication using particular technical concepts and expressions, to negotiate power, hierarchy and personal relationships, to avoid using certain Arabic terms that are regarded as sensitive by some listeners, and to preserve the meaning of certain terms and expressions by using them in one particular language rather than the other, especially those regarded as formulaic chunks with specific cultural significance. The study concludes with research implications, implications for medical authorities and educators, and recommendations for future research.
Supervisor: Stevenson, Patrick ; Cogo, Alessia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available