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Ethnic Categorization in Interviews in English as a Lingua Franca


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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3. Analysis of ethnic categorization in interviews in ELF


The objective of the empirical part of my study focuses on the negotiation of ethnic identity categories in interviews in ELF. The analytical value of observation criteria established in the theoretical part of my work is verified in conclusions.

The following questions have been posed:

1.What is the in situ organization of ethnic categorization in interviews in ELF?

2.How do the roles of the IR and IE influence ethnic categorization? Which kinds of ethnic identity categories encourage speakers to negotiate the IR’s and IE’s roles?

3.How are ethnic identity categories negotiated? Which ways of evaluating ethnic identity categories are socially preferred and dispreferred? How do talk participants deal with bias and prejudice in ethnic categorization? Do speakers share the norms of construing and negotiating ethnic identity categories?

The interviews were part of an academic task for Polish students of English as a foreign language at an academic level. The interviews were recorded in the years 2004–2009 by 1st year psychology students and by 2nd and 3rd year students of Applied Linguistics at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań. Some of the IEs were native English speakers or English language teachers and the students’ command of English ranges from B2 to C1 but deficiencies in language competence did not cause any serious communication problems. The task consisted in conducting an interview with a foreigner staying in Poland. The social background of the IEs selected by the IRs...

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