Intergenerational interviews in Negev Arabic Negotiating lexical, discursive and cultural gaps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Communication strategies used for conversational repair in Negev Arabic are examined here in a 170,000-word corpus of intergenerational interviews, with university students interviewing their relatives, over age 55, in the Bedouin community in the Negev, southern Israel. Since the traditional language and narrative style of the elderly are largely unfamiliar to the young generation in terms of lexicon, discourse structure and cultural norms, progressivity was often interrupted for purpose of repair. Other-initiated self-repair sequences were particularly frequent: the student asks a metalinguistic or referent-tracking question, or inquires about past customs, and the interviewee explains; additional turns may contain candidate understanding moves and confirmation, before resuming progressivity of the narrative sequence. Gaps were sometimes mediated by a middle-generation ‘broker’ interlocutor. Conversational repair was found to be frequent in facilitating both intelligibility and comprehensibility in these intergenerational conversations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-558
Number of pages27
Issue number4
StatePublished - 26 Oct 2023


  • Negev Arabic
  • candidate understanding
  • communication strategies
  • conversational repair
  • intergenerational interviews
  • lexical gaps
  • metalinguistic questions
  • negotiation of meaning
  • other-initiated repair
  • participant (referent-)tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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