LINGUIST List 16.445

Mon Feb 14 2005

Diss: Discourse Analysis: Olmstead: 'Constructing...'

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        1.    Susan Olmstead, Constructing Sociability through Code-Switching in Mandarin-English Family Conversations


Message 1: Constructing Sociability through Code-Switching in Mandarin-English Family Conversations

Date: 13-Feb-2005
From: Susan Olmstead <olmstesuah.edu>
Subject: Constructing Sociability through Code-Switching in Mandarin-English Family Conversations


Institution: University of Alabama. Tuscaloosa
Program: Applied Linguistics, English Department
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Susan Olmstead

Dissertation Title: Constructing Sociability through Code-Switching in Mandarin-English Family Conversations

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
                            Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin (CHN)
                            English (ENG)

Dissertation Director:
Beth Daniell
Catherine E. Davies
Janis Nuckolls
Lucy Pickering

Dissertation Abstract:

This research illuminates processes of code-switching as integral parts of
family dynamics in the construction and maintenance of sociability in
bilingual conversation. No research to date has examined use of
code-switching in the intimate contact situations of same-generation
bilingual conversations that include native and non-native speakers of the
matrix language, Mandarin. Because Chinese and English are two dominant
languages in the world, and contact between them on all levels will
increase. The study provides a detailed description of switching between
Mandarin and English in the intimate language contact situation of family
conversations as it serves to build sociability among interlocutors. In the
conversations examined, Mandarin is the dominant language and switches are
made into English, the nondominant language. Gathered over a period of a
year, my data includes 8.5 hours of audiotaped conversations in which four
family members informally discuss a variety of topics in a series of
roughly 30 minute conversations. The focus of this dissertation is on three
of these conversations. Three interlocutors speak Taiwanese as a native
language and Mandarin as a second native language, and one, a participant
observer, speaks English as a native language and Mandarin as a second
language. Using an interactional framework and drawing on Gumperz' notion
of the emergent, socially co-constructed quality of conversation, I use
discourse analysis to examine dynamics of the conversations. Findings show
that code-switching is a positive additive strategy that interlocutors use
to construct sociability through politeness and face work in a
crosscultural language contact situation.



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