Responding to Trouble: An Interactional Approach to Empathy In Catalan and English

Carme Sanahuges*, Hortènsia Curell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper explores how empathy is verbally expressed in two different languages, Catalan and British English, by analysing the linguistic strategies used by speakers of these languages when responding more or less empathically in interactions. These different strategies are described according to their nature and aim. Data was obtained from dyadic open role-plays where participants had to discuss some trouble-telling situations affecting the teller, in which some empathic response was expected. A definition and classification of these strategies is developed providing contextualised examples in the two languages in order to illustrate what seem to be the most typical verbal resources used when reacting to the telling of a trouble. Since empathising is a process that is jointly constructed by the participants throughout the interaction, the sequential outline of this kind of conversations is also proposed and discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)449-472
JournalCorpus Pragmatics
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020


  • Affiliation
  • Conversation analysis
  • Discursive psychology
  • Empathy
  • Intercultural pragmatics


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