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“Where are you really from?”: Nationality and Ethnicity Talk (NET) in everyday interactions

“Where are you really from?”: Nationality and Ethnicity Talk (NET) in everyday interactions Abstract The article examines the significance of questions such as “where are you really from?” in everyday conversational interactions. Defining this kind of talk as nationality and ethnicity talk (NET), i. e. discourse that either explicitly or inexplicitly evokes one’s nationality or ethnicity in everyday conversation, the paper discusses what constitutes NET, how it works through symbolic and indexical cues and strategic emphasis, and why it matters in the wider context of identity, race, intercultural contact and power relations. The discussion draws on social media data including videos, blogs, on-line comments and the authors’ observations, and focuses on NET around Asian people living outside Asia. It argues that the question “where are you really from” itself does not per se contest immigrants’ entitlement. However, what makes difference to the perception of whether one is an “interloper” – someone who is not wanted – is the “tangled” history, memory and expectation imbued and fuelled by power inequality. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Linguistics Review de Gruyter

“Where are you really from?”: Nationality and Ethnicity Talk (NET) in everyday interactions

Applied Linguistics Review , Volume 7 (4) – Nov 1, 2016

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by the
ISSN
1868-6303
eISSN
1868-6311
DOI
10.1515/applirev-2016-0020
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract The article examines the significance of questions such as “where are you really from?” in everyday conversational interactions. Defining this kind of talk as nationality and ethnicity talk (NET), i. e. discourse that either explicitly or inexplicitly evokes one’s nationality or ethnicity in everyday conversation, the paper discusses what constitutes NET, how it works through symbolic and indexical cues and strategic emphasis, and why it matters in the wider context of identity, race, intercultural contact and power relations. The discussion draws on social media data including videos, blogs, on-line comments and the authors’ observations, and focuses on NET around Asian people living outside Asia. It argues that the question “where are you really from” itself does not per se contest immigrants’ entitlement. However, what makes difference to the perception of whether one is an “interloper” – someone who is not wanted – is the “tangled” history, memory and expectation imbued and fuelled by power inequality.

Journal

Applied Linguistics Reviewde Gruyter

Published: Nov 1, 2016

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