Language choice in peer interactions and the role of peers in minority language maintenance
A case study from Vietnam
Drawing on the positioning theory and the conditions for language use, this article examines Vietnamese ethnic minority students’ language choice in interactions with their same-ethnicity and majority peers, focusing particularly on their communication motives underlying this choice. Findings suggest that in regulating their language alternation practices across peer groups in different contexts, the students shifted their participation status – from aligning (being alike) to disaligning (being distinct) – to (re)position themselves in relation to their peers. As their desires for alignment or disalignment were either supported or disrupted by their peers, peer attitudes played a critical role in providing opportunities and encouraging minority students’ willingness to use their L1 in school and ethnic community spaces. Implications are suggested for engaging peer support as a resource for maintaining or widening L1 use among young minority people in both of the domains.
Keywords: language choice, language use, language maintenance, positioning, peer interactions, minority students
Published online: 24 September 2020
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Cited by 1 other publications
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