Contributing to a Tactile Language: Partners Communicative Accommodation to a Bodily/Tactile modality


  • Caroline Lindström



This article is based on the master thesis “Contributing to a Bodily/Tactile Language by Transforming Cultural Customs: - A case study of Partners Communicative Accommodations in Socialised Praxises based on a Bodily/Tactile Modality and its Influences on a Bodily/Tactile Culture” (Lindström, 2017). The study is an ethnographic case study, based on a theoretical framework of language and culture. The case study involves a person with congenital deafblindness and ten of his care workers.

A cultural perspective was used as a way to describe the transformation of customs the care workers have to do to accommodate from their seeing/hearing perspective into a shared bodily/tactile modality. The transformation revealed different bodily/tactile strategies that the caregivers used together with the person with congenital deafblindness.

The case study was conducted in a longitudinal perspective using ten video clips within the same case study. The video clips were transcribed and analysed using an applied theme-based analysis in the search for categories and themes that could help reveal the customs and accommodations.    

The results of this study indicated several strategies that the care workers used together with the person with congenital deafblindness to transform customs in visual sign language into a bodily/tactile communication. The strategies consisted of different body alignments, (hand-over-hand) positions, turn taking markers, the directing of hand and bodies in the conversation, touch and positions from the peripheral partner, the use of objects in the conversation, Martin’s body as an articulation place, haptic signals, back and forth articulation, different tempo and rhythm as well as repetitions.