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Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication

Ed. by Piller, Ingrid

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Volume 37, Issue 1


Shifting of “expert” and “novice” roles between/within two languages: Language socialization, identity, and epistemics in family dinnertime conversations

Noriko Takei / Matthew Burdelski
Published Online: 2017-03-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2016-0014


This article explores the construction and shifting of “expert” and “novice” roles between and within two languages (Japanese and English). Taking a language socialization perspective while drawing upon insights from conversation analysis on epistemics in interaction, it analyzes seven hours of audio recordings of dinnertime talk in a Japanese-speaking immigrant family with a university-aged adult daughter living together in Australia. The analysis identifies several key communicative practices, such as word definitions and repair, which participants deploy in displaying epistemic stances that constitute the self and family members as possessing relatively more or less knowledge and expertise (epistemic status) with respect to these two languages. The findings reveal the dynamics of language socialization in a bilingual/immigrant setting in which the relative roles of expert and novice emerge, shift, and are negotiated in interaction. In conclusion, the findings are discussed in relation to language expertise, power and hierarchy, agency and bidirectional language socialization.

Keywords: conversation analysis; heritage language; immigrants; identity; language socialization


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-03-17

Published in Print: 2018-01-26

Osaka University Scholarship for Overseas Research Activities , (Grant/Award Number:).

Citation Information: Multilingua, Volume 37, Issue 1, Pages 83–117, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2016-0014.

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