Paulina Bala

Paulina Bala

PhD fellow

  • Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics

    Emil Holms Kanal 2, 2300 København S, Building: 22.3.20

    Phone: +45 35 32 05 66

Current research

My PhD is part of INTERPRETING, a research project on interpreter-mediated interactions in the Danish health and legal sectors (funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark). Together with Martha Sif Karrebæk and Marta Kirilova, I investigate the interactional work citizens, institutional representatives and interpreters engage in when establishing understanding in court and in therapy sessions.

So far, I have focused on identification sequences in Danish Constitutional Hearings using Conversation analysis. In the identification sequences, the accused is identified before the court, and this oftentimes leads to misunderstandings between the participants.

Now I am investigating the different types of "text oriented activities" the participants engage in during the different phases of the Constitutional Hearings. The engagement with and orientation to texts permeate the interaction in the courtroom; The identification of the accused, accomplished interactionally at the very beginning, is “fact-checked” against the case documents, then the prosecutor reads out loud the preliminary charge and during questioning he reads out loud selected extracts from the Police report. In the end, the judge summarizes “what the accused stated in court” (or at least his understanding of what the accused stated in court), and his words are written down as the summary of the hearing. The situated meaning-making process in court is thus hinged on the “understanding” of texts.

I hand in my PhD dissertation January 31st 2022.

Primary fields of research

(Mis)Understandings

Conversation analysis

Courtroom interaction

Linguistic manifestation of mental processes

Psychology of language

Systemic functional linguistics

Transcripts and transcription practices

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