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Camilla Lindholm: Linguistically asymmetric situations and interaction guidance

Published on 10.5.2021
Tampere University
Camilla Lindholm.
Camilla Lindholm is a professor of Nordic languages in the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences. She specialises in interaction studies. Lindholm investigates asymmetric interaction and is particularly interested in situations where the linguistic and interaction skills of the interlocutors are at different levels.

“Interaction research is important because it gives us new insights into the core of human behaviour and human potential,” says Lindholm.

According to Lindholm, asymmetric interaction refers to situations where the parties hold different positions. Her research focuses on linguistic asymmetry. In linguistically asymmetric conversations, one of the interacting parties has poorer linguistic skills than the others. 

“In order for linguistically asymmetric interaction to work ideally, the linguistically more competent party needs to get guidance so that they can support the interaction,” Lindholm explains.

According to Lindholm, the aim of interaction guidance is not so much to solve a single problem, but to encourage the participants to work together to build a consensus even when this is difficult and requires a special effort.

“At the same time, we can teach self-compassion to linguistically more competent participants; your speech does not need to be perfect. What matters the most is to have the courage to interact.”

Camilla Lindholm's contact information