'So You Are from England': Categorization and Cultural Reduction in First-time Conversation Lounge Encounters between Foreign Teachers and Japanese Students of EFL

Nao, Marion (2015). 'So You Are from England': Categorization and Cultural Reduction in First-time Conversation Lounge Encounters between Foreign Teachers and Japanese Students of EFL. Applied Linguistics, 36(2) pp. 194–214.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amt041

Abstract

The article explores ‘culture talk’ at the outset of first-time encounters between teachers and students of English as a foreign language in the conversation lounge of a Japanese university. It analyses the interactional procedures by which the foreign place of origin of the teacher becomes the topic of conversation following his or her initial categorization by the Japanese students, for example, ‘so you are from England’. In doing so, it draws on Maynard and Zimmerman’s (1984) analytic framework of pre-topical sequences used by unacquainted participants to uncover other-identifying information. This is reclassified to accommodate the prior knowledge of the Japanese students of the teachers’ foreign origins, as emergent in categorization. Having been granted the pre-allocated right to nominate topic through guidelines on use of the lounge, the students further adopt a wanting-to-know framing of conversation, by which they orient to the teacher’s own expertise, as rooted in his or her biographical information preserve (Goffman 1971). Knowledge of the foreign country is seen to be asymmetrically distributed by the participants, with observably reductive effects on both interactional dynamics and cultural representation.

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About

  • Item ORO ID
  • 81752
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1477-450X
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Postdoctoral fellowshipPTA-026-27- 2648ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2013 Oxford University Press
  • Depositing User
  • Marion Nao

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