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

Hua, Z; Wei, L; (2016) "Where are you really from?": Nationality and Ethnicity Talk (NET) in everyday interactions. Applied Linguistics Review , 7 (4) pp. 449-470. 10.1515/applirev-2016-0020. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: "Where are you really from?": Nationality and Ethnicity Talk (NET) in everyday interactions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1515/applirev-2016-0020
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2016-0020
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 by De Gruyter Mouton.
Keywords: Nationality and ethnicity talk; folk theory of race; stereotype
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1530513
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