Greer, Timothy S. (2007) Accomplishing identity in bilingual interaction: codeswitching practices among a group of multiethnic Japanese teenagers. [Thesis (_PhD/Research)] (Unpublished)
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[Abstract]: The number of so-called ‘half-Japanese’ children (haafu) has been increasing in Japan over the last twenty years, and one place in which such multiethnic people exist in community is in the international school system. Although international schools typically deliver their curricula in English, most multiethnic students are equally familiar with the dominant Japanese culture and language, and can alternate between English and Japanese to accomplish discourse functions and express their hybrid identities. However, little research has been conducted into the bilingual interactional practices that multiethnic Japanese people use to accomplish aspects of their identity in mundane conversation. In conjunction with ethnographic observations and focus group discussions, this study adopts a conversational analytic (CA) approach to investigate some of these interactional practices. Specifically, the investigation draws on video-recorded data of the participants’ speech in naturally occurring conversations to explore the role of codeswitching in co-constructing aspects of identity in interaction with others. The study draws on Membership Categorization Analysis to examine the participants’ use of competency-related category bound activities to index identity in mundane talk, and Conversation Analysis to explore the role of discursive and situated identities in indexing transportable identities like ‘multiethnic Japanese’ in bilingual interaction. The investigation found several bilingual practices that index identity in multi-party talk, including the use of forward-oriented self-repair in bilingual word search sequences and backwards-oriented repair to design a translation in bilingual multi-party talk for a known non-native (or novice) speaker. In combination with embodied practices such as gaze shift, these bilingual practices worked by altering the participant constellation to partition recipients based on their perceived language preference. Throughout the study, mundane talk is seen as a key site in which multiethnic identity is made visible and co-accomplished by the participants.
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