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Ethnic Categorization in Interviews in English as a Lingua Franca

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Agnieszka Nowicka

The book looks into the in situ organization of ethnic and racial categorization in interviews in English as a lingua franca. It proposes the combined ethnomethodological and conversation analytic approach. The author shows that the negotiation of ethnic identity categories concerns stereotypes and evaluations included in ethnic categorization. She establishes that the ways of negotiating ethnic identity categories are largely systematic, which indicates that talk participants share the norms of construing ethnic identity categories and recognize preferred and dispreferred categorization. The book reveals that ambiguous categorial references are a special challenge for talk participants. Social types and groups are used not only to create but also to avoid prejudiced ethnic categorization.

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2. Ethnic categorization

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My reflection concerning the general criteria of observation has so far concentrated mainly on the norms of social order in native languages, especially in English. Chapter 2 deals with norms of social order in IC in ELF with a view to defining IC in ELF in the phenomenological perspective. The main focus of Chapter 2 falls on ethnic identities as the most salient determinant of IC in ELF. The phenomenological view of ethnic identities may be especially useful in a possibly unbiased analysis of IC because it assumes a mutually shaping relationship between norms of construing ethnic identity categories and their individual realizations in interaction.

The majority of studies dealing with ELF appear to assume, usually implicitly, a decontextualized view of ELF communication. They study ELF as a language system, or more specifically as an interlanguage, abstracted from the social context. This assumption distinguishes ELF communication from IC which is often defined on the basis of intercultural differences in social communication styles. Problems stemming from language differences and language expertise are perceived as the determinants of ELF.

Research on IC justified the assumption that members of different cultures refer to their native pragmalinguistic and linguistic norms and that the differences in these norms cause communication troubles (cf. Scollon and Scollon 1995; Kasper and Rose 2002; Gumperz 2005). This assumption stems from the focus on structural differences in speech acts and communication styles in different languages. As a result, IC is frequently studied as an...

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