Sociolinguistics Lunch: Agnes He (Stony Brook University - SUNY)
APR 26, 2013 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM
The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
April 26, 2013: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM
The discursive role of the child speaker of Chinese as a heritage language
Abstract: This presentation examines the active, agentive role child speakers of Chinese as a heritage language (CHL) play in the socialization of their families to new language forms, new language varieties, and new communicative modalities. It focuses on three aspects of CHL family discourse: (1) the construction and allocation of speaking turns in speech activities to which only children and parents are participants, (2) discourse strategies of reframing and refocusing in the context of language brokering involving participants outside the immediate family, and (3) conversational repairs in cases of misunderstanding, mis-production and creative-production in trans-language communication.
Empirically, this study extends existing research on diasporic discourses and identities with its attention to the younger generation as well as its focus on naturally occurring, seemingly mundane interactions in everyday life. Theoretically, this study redresses the tendency in language socialization research to emphasize the socializing efforts made by parents, caregivers, and teachers while neglecting the responses and responsibilities of children. This study further highlights the dynamic, ever-evolving nature of discursive rights, obligations, domains and competences in CHL households.