Keywords

English, language ability, communication, immigrants, miscommunication

Abstract

Hamza,' an African immigrant, travels on a domestic flight in the United States. He harmlessly flirts with his young seatmate, until she becomes angry with him and moves. When he exits the plane, the police approach him and request an interview. He quickly realizes that something serious is happening and he is being interrogated about his conversation with the young lady. He does not understand what is occurring, but because, in his culture, compliance with authority is seen as a practical and civic duty, he agrees with many of the police's statements. Unfortunately, his English language ability is too poor for him to realize that, in the end, he has unwittingly confessed to sexual battery. He is subsequently arrested. This case will be addressed in more detail later, but the underlying issues are relevant to many contexts involving immigrants with limited English speaking ability.

Original Publication Citation

Eggington, W. & Cox, T. (2013).Using elicited oral response testing to measure speaking and listening proficiency in order to determine the need for an interpreter. Harvard Latino Law Review. In Press

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2013

Publisher

Harvard Latino Law Review

Language

English

College

Humanities

Department

Linguistics

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

Share

COinS