|Author(s)||Elisabetta Adami, Ruth Swanwick|
|Title||Signs of understanding and turns-as-actions: a multimodal analysis of deaf–hearing interaction|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, In press, Deaf, Deaf and hearing interaction, Multimodality, Senses, Sensory asymmetry, Turn organization, Understanding|
This article examines the interaction between deaf and hearing interlocutors in order to demonstrate how understanding (and misunderstanding) can be expressed and inspected through the situated use of multimodal resources. In this communicative situation, participants have asymmetrical experiences of being deaf and being hearing, and ‘codified’ (either speech or sign-language) resources are little shared among participants. The multimodal analysis of an interactional sequence between a young deaf child, her deaf friend and her hearing mother demonstrates ways in which participants use semiotic resources to take, execute and give turns in the presence of sensory asymmetries. The organization of turn taking in this sequence provides insights into the ways in which understanding (or lack of it) can be demonstrated, monitored and co-constructed by participants throughout the interaction. The findings demonstrate that turns offer a useful point of analysis for the recognition and inspection of signs of understanding in the context of sensory asymmetries but there needs to be a qualitative orientation to assessing this. This contribution to the research on situated multimodal sign-making underlines the need for the development of multimodal frameworks that can account for, and effectively document, situated meaning-making beyond ‘codified/linguistic’ resources.