Tag Archives: Discourse Analysis

UIC TiL: Xuehua Xiang

Tomorrow, October 30th, we’re having another UIC Talk in Linguistics.  This week we have the privilege of presenting another of UIC’s own linguistics, Xuehua Xiang.  The talk, entitled “Linguistic Representation of ‘Self’ and Narrative Co-Construction: A Comparative Discourse Analysis of Celebrity Interviews in American English and Mandarin Chinese” will take place in 1750 University Hall from 3 to 5, with light refreshments provided.


Drawing on 600-minutes of TV/radio interviews featuring celebrity guests, broadcast in Mandarin Chinese in China and American English in the U.S., respectively, this paper is a comparative discourse analysis of the interview as a form of narrative co-construction, as situated within the two cultures.

A preliminary analysis of six Mandarin interviews and six English interviews suggests that English speakers assume a parallel “you” vs.”I” dynamic in co-constructing the interviewee’s personal narrative; English interviewers tend to propel the narrative through mechanisms of A-Event and B-Event (Labov, 1972), i.e., the interviewer shares personal experience and/or reveals personal knowledge about the interviewee, which in effect elicits the interviewee’s autobiographical account. In contrast, the Mandarin interviews manifest a triangular structure whereby the interviewer assumes a mediating role between public consciousness and the
interviewee (cf. Xiang, 2003), i.e., the interviewer highlights the general public’s knowledge gaps, and frames the interviewee’s upcoming narration as being different from, and corrective of, public knowledge. Particularly, both the interviewer and interviewee in the Chinese data highlight the conflict between the interviewee as a social individual (e.g. wo ‘I’, ni ‘you’) and the interviewee as “private” self (e.g. wo/ni ziji “I myself” “you yourself”‘). This duality in the linguistic construction of “self” is not obvious in the English data. Continue reading

UIC TiL: Shahrzad Mahootian

Shahrzad Mahootian of Northeastern Illinois University will be presenting this Friday at UIC Talks in Linguistics.  The talk will take place in 1750 University Hall (601 S. Morgan Street) from 2-3.


The Medium and the Message: Codeswitching in written discourse

“I am always the other but I get to choose my identity depending on context”

(Guillermo Gomez-Pena, 1993)

“Are you an independent *chica *or a cling-on?” (Latina 2001)
A variety of reasons and explanations have been put forth for why bilinguals codeswitch. Nearly all the data  considered has come from spoken, unscripted discourse, with very little attention paid to written texts.  Using data
from a variety of sources, I examine the motivations behind codeswitching in written texts. I employ Fairclough’s discourse model  (1995) in which he proposes a three dimensional approach for critical discourse analysis. The model is based on the interrelationship between *text, discourse practice * and* sociocultural practice*. He claims  that “social-identity struggles” are worked out through “new configurations of genres and discourse” (pg 8). An analysis of the “texture” (form, organization and content) of code mixing in written texts leads me to conclude that* *the use of mixed language is one *discourse practice* through which a ‘bicultural identity’ is defined and promoted (*sociocultural practice*). Specifically, the intentional use of mixed code in printed media serves as an identity marker for the bilingual speech community associated with this data (Mahootian 2005). The use of mixed code in the context of a national publication for example, such as *Latina*, is one way that the social-identity struggles of Latinos in the United States are expressed, and to a certain extent, resolved.