Evidentiality and identity positioning in online disputes about language use in Hong Kong
Keywords:Cantonese and Putonghua in Hong Kong classrooms, evidentiality, identity positioning, online discussion
This paper analyses online disputes amongst a group of students about the use of language (Cantonese versus Putonghua) in Hong Kong. Using evidentiality and identity positioning frameworks, we analyse 44 student posts to a proprietary online forum. Particular attention is paid to the construction of a Hong Kong social identity, the various identity positions that underpin such a construction, and how such identity work is supported by the use of evidentiality. The analysis shows that Hong Kong locals are most often constructed as an oppressed, marginalised minority who are denied the right of authentic expression and are subject to a process of politically expedient cultural denigration. The analysis also shows that evidential choices are intimately bound with identity positions at both the discourse-production level and discourse-content level. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for applied linguistics in Hong Kong’s schools and universities.
Bamberg, Michael (2004) ‘I know it may sound mean to say this, but we couldn’t really care less about her anyway’: Form and functions of ‘slut bashing’ in male identity constructions in 15-year olds. Human Development 47: 331–353. https://doi.org/10.1159/000081036
Bednarek, Monika (2006) Epistemological positioning and evidentiality in English news discourse: A text-driven approach. Text & Talk 26 (6): 635–660. https://doi.org/10.1515/text.2006.027
Bredella, Lothar (2003) What does it mean to be intercultural? In Geof Alred, Mike Byram and Mike Fleming (eds) Intercultural Experience and Education, 225–239. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781853596087-017
Bucholtz, Mary and Kira Hall (2005) Identity and interaction: A sociocultural Linguistic approach. Discourse Studies 7 (4–5): 585–614. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445605054407
Davison, Chris and Winnie Y. W. A. Lai (2007) Competing identities, common issues: Teaching (in) Putonghua. Language Policy 6 (1): 119–134. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-006-9038-z
De Fina, Anna (2011) Discourse and identity. In Teun van Dijk (ed.) Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction, 263–282. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446289068.n13
De Fina, Anna, Deborah Schiffrin and Michael Bamberg (2006) Introduction. In Anna De Fina, Deborah Schiffrin and Michael Bamberg (eds) Discourse and Identity: Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics, 1–26. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Elbaz-Luwisch, Freema (1997) Narrative research: Political issues and implications. Teaching and Teacher Education 13 (1): 75–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0742-051x(96)00042-x
Everett, Daniel L. (2012) Language: The Cultural Tool. London: Profile Books.
Fox, Barbara A. (2001) Evidentiality: Authority, responsibility, and entitlement in English conversation. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11 (2): 167–192. https://doi.org/10.1525/jlin.2001.11.2.167
Franziskus, Anne (2017) ‘I speak French=eh’: Multilingualism and professional identity struggles in Luxembourg. In Dorien van de Mieroop and Stephanie Schnurr (eds) Identity Struggles: Evidence from Workplaces around the World, 335–355. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/dapsac.69.18fra
Friedman, Victor A. (1986) Evidentiality in the Balkans: Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Albanian. In Wallace Chafe and Johanna Nichols (eds) Evidentiality: The Linguistic Coding of Epistemology, 168–187. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Goffman, Erving (1981) Forms of Talk. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Hill, Jane H. and Judith T. Irvine (1993) Introduction. In Jane H. Hill and Judith T. Irvine (eds) Responsibility and Evidence in Oral Discourse, 1–24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hogg, Michael A. (2000) Social processes and human behavior. Social psychology. In Kurt Pawlik and Mark R. Rosenzweig (eds) International Handbook of Psychology, 305–327. London: Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781848608399.n17
Hyland, Ken (2005) Metadiscourse. London: Continuum.
Jaworski, Adam and Richard Fitzgerald (2008) The poll hasn’t happened yet: Temporal play in election predictions. Discourse and Communication 2 (1): 5–27. https://doi.org/10.1177/1750481307085574
Ladegaard, Hans J. (2011) Discourses of identity: Outgroup stereotypes and strategies of discursive boundary-making in Chinese students’ online discussions about ‘the other’. Journal of Multicultural Discourses 6 (2): 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/17447143.2011.560670
Li, Wei and Zhu Hua (2013) Translanguaging identities and ideologies: Creating transnational space through flexible multilingual practices among Chinese university students in the UK. Applied Linguistics 34 (5): 516–535. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amt022
Lyons, John (1977) Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mey, Jacob and Hans J. Ladegaard (2016) Discourse, democracy and diplomacy: A pragmatic analysis of the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong. Word 64 (4): 319–334. https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.2015.1112949
Miglbauer, Marlene (2017) Workplace conflicts as (re)source for analysing identity struggles. In Dorien van de Mieroop and Stephanie Schnurr (eds) Identity Struggles: Evidence from Workplaces around the World, 207–224. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/dapsac.69.11mig
Mushin, Ilana (2001) Evidentiality and Epistemological Stance. Narrative Retelling. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.87
Nuyts, Jan (2001a) Epistemic Modality, Language, and Conceptualization: A CognitivePragmatic Perspective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Nuyts, Jan (2001b) Subjectivity as an evidential dimension in epistemic modal expressions. Journal of Pragmatics 33 (3): 383–400.
Sanderson, Tamsin (2008) Corpus, Culture, Discourse. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.
Stephan, Walter G. and Cookie W. Stephan (1996) Intergroup Relations. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Sweetser, Eliot E. (1984) Semantic Structure and Semantic Change: English Perception-Verbs in an Indo-European Context. Trier: Linguistics Agency, University of Trier. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511620904.003
Tajfel, Henri (1982) Human Groups and Social Categories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van Dijk, Teun (2008) Discourse and Context: A Sociocognitive Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van Dijk, Teun (2009) Racism and Discourse in Latin America. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Van Dijk, Teun (2014) Discourse and Knowledge: A Sociocognitive Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Žižek, Slavoj (2008) The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso.
How to Cite
Equinox Publishing Ltd.