Linguistic practice and identity work: Variation in Taiwan Mandarin at a Taipei County high school

Journal Article (Academic article)

This article examines variation in the use of two Taiwan Mandarin features, de-retroflection of sibilant fricatives [ʂ] > [s], and labial glide deletion [wɔ] > [ɔ], in the speech of Taipei County high school students. The features become resources for the negotiation of identity positions within the highly structured school institution. I discuss the correlations between the use of Taiwan Mandarin and two social factors: membership in the small culture (Holliday 1999) of a particular bānjí or class, and individual aspirations. Holliday’s concept of small cultures is proposed as a variant of the Community of Practice. I refer to Bucholtz & Hall’s (2004) tactics of intersubjectivity framework as a possible tool for explaining variation at the school. I argue that the two Taiwan Mandarin features are invoked to perform different social goals, which is possible because they are imbued with related but significantly different sociocultural meanings (Brubaker 2012, Baran 2007).

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Baran, DM

Published Date

  • 2014

Published In

  • Journal of Sociolinguistics

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 32 - 59