Play Frames and Social Identities

Contact encounters in a Greek primary school

Vally Lytra | King's College London
ISBN 9789027254078 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027291783 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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This book is a sociolinguistic study of children’s talk and how they interact with one another and their teachers in multilingual, multicultural and multiethnic schools. It is based on tape recordings and ethnographic observations of majority Greek and minority Turkish-speaking children at an Athens primary school. It offers the reader a unique look into the ways in which children draw upon their rich interactional histories and share, transform and recontextualize linguistic and other semiotic resources in circulation to construct play frames and explore, adopt, resist available as well as novel social roles and identities. Drawing on ethnographically informed approaches to discourse, the book shows the ways in which verbal phenomena such as teasing, joking, language play, music making and chanting can provide a productive locus for the study of the negotiation of social identities and roles at school. This book will be of interest to scholars, researchers and students of sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, cultural studies, and multicultural education. It will also be of interest to anthropologists and sociologists.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 163] 2007.  xii, 300 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Vally Lytra's book provides a lively description of a community in transition and, at the same time, a very well documented analysis of such speech events as teasing and joking. It is a welcome contribution both to the ethnography of minorities and to linguistics.”
“Vally Lytra demonstrates the power of combining sociolinguistics with ethnography in this fascinating, nuanced account of children's linguistic creativity. Using a rare combination of data from both instructional and recreational contexts, she captures the intricate complexities of children's meaning-making and the dynamics of sociability, identity and knowledge construction. The ways linguistic minority children use mainstream media and popular culture to lay claim to a shared bicultural peer-group identity are particularly striking. This meticulous analysis of children's agentive, playful negotiations of knowledge and authority will provide an important reference point for future studies of language in multilingual classrooms and a tremendous resource for researchers and teachers.”
“The book is a significant contribution to the study of the integration of minority groups in multicultural societies, and more particularly the intercultural relationships of minority and majority children in the presence of the ‘ever increasing cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity’ (p. 3) of Greek society. It tackles a number of important topics, such as the socialisation of minority children, children’s play, intercultural relationships and identities in talk. [...].One of the highlights of the book is the invigorating discussion of the children’s life histories six years after the original data collection, which adds to the dynamic nature of the book. [...] As this book brings together a unique combination of multiple analytical perspectives on the interpretation of talk and cultural play in educational settings, it will certainly appeal to sociolinguists, researchers in language and multicultural education, as well as to Greek educational stakeholders involved in decision making about intercultural schools.”
“This amazing account of children's playful language shows us how young grade school children are competent social actors who create meanings, form social relationships, and develop themselves as well as each other through flexible and creative use of language in many different forms. Vally Lytra's study is a first class example of unprejudiced empirical work at its very best. She presents insights into the inner social workings of children's groups which we have not seen before, and she brings us closer to understanding why the adults in the school are not nearly as important as the other kids are. We can all go back to our data with children's conversations and have another look.”
“In Play Frames and Social Identities Vally Lytra presents a truly fascinating ethnographic study of a multilingual group of children in a Greek primary school focusing on playful interaction as a site for the analysis of "the construction, representation and negotiation of the identities in talk." [...] Bringing together recent insights from sociolinguistic and anthropological inquiry in this field, the author illustrates how language functions in conjunction with other forms of symbolic practice to constitute identities and social realities.[...] The author's insightful use of ethnography and her careful study of talk and of non discursive practices illustrate that a great deal of knowledge and understanding can be gained on the constitution of communities, their functioning in institutional and non institutional settings, their members use of established social identities, and potential for creating new ones. At the same time, Lytra introduces some important directions for future research. [...] This book should be read not only by scholars interested in literacy, learning and multilingual education, but also by those interested in interactional approaches to discourse and identity.”
“Lytra’s work makes a useful contribution to the literature on interactions in intercultural school settings and the social construction of identities.”
Cited by

Cited by 38 other publications

Bell, Nancy
2012. Formulaic Language, Creativity, and Language Play in a Second Language. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 32  pp. 189 ff. DOI logo
Bell, Nancy
2012. Comparing Playful and Nonplayful Incidental Attention to Form. Language Learning 62:1  pp. 236 ff. DOI logo
2011. Humor Scholarship and TESOL: Applying Findings and Establishing a Research Agenda. TESOL Quarterly 45:1  pp. 134 ff. DOI logo
Cekaite, Asta & Polly Björk-Willén
2013. Peer group interactions in multilingual educational settings: Co-constructing social order and norms for language use. International Journal of Bilingualism 17:2  pp. 174 ff. DOI logo
Cohen, Lynn E.
2015. Layers of Discourse in Preschool Block Play: An Examination of Children’s Social Interactions. International Journal of Early Childhood 47:2  pp. 267 ff. DOI logo
De Fina, Anna & Mike Baynham
2012. Immigrant Discourse. In The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, DOI logo
Evaldsson, Ann-Carita & Asta Cekaite
2022. “ ‘Schwedis’ he can’t even say Swedish” - subverting and reproducing institutionalized norms for language use in multilingual peer groups. Pragmatics. Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA)  pp. 587 ff. DOI logo
Fay, Richard, Vally Lytra & Maria Ntavaliagkou
2010. Multicultural awareness through English: a potential contribution of TESOL in Greek schools. Intercultural Education 21:6  pp. 581 ff. DOI logo
García-Sánchez, Inmaculada M.
2023. Linguistic ethnography and immigrant youth’s social lives in the liminal interludes of schooling. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2023:279  pp. 71 ff. DOI logo
Georgakopoulou, Alexandra
2011. Teachers, Students and Ways of Telling in Classroom Sites: A Case of Out-of-(Work) Place Identities. In Constructing Identities at Work,  pp. 151 ff. DOI logo
Georgakopoulou, Alexandra & Vally Lytra
2022. Language, discourse and identities. Pragmatics. Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA)  pp. 311 ff. DOI logo
Georgalidou, Marianthi
2010. Gender Differences in the Discourse of Greek Children Play-Groups. Gender and Language 3:2  pp. 209 ff. DOI logo
Georgalidou, Marianthi & Hasan Kaili
2018. Chapter 4. The pragmatics of humor in bilingual conversations. In The Dynamics of Interactional Humor [Topics in Humor Research, 7],  pp. 77 ff. DOI logo
Guzmán-Simón, Fernando, Celia Moreno-Morilla & Eduardo García-Jiménez
2018. Analysis of Different Views and Conceptualizations of the Literacy Practices of Pupils, Families, and Teachers in Costa Rican Primary Education. Journal of Research in Childhood Education 32:3  pp. 268 ff. DOI logo
Jaspers, Jürgen
2023. Crossing. In Handbook of Pragmatics [Handbook of Pragmatics, ],  pp. 21 ff. DOI logo
Johnsen, Ragni Vik
2022. “Quierojuksar en lajulaftenito” – Playfulness and metalinguistic awareness in translingual family interactions. Multilingua 41:1  pp. 57 ff. DOI logo
Jørgensen, J.Normann
2008. Polylingual Languaging Around and Among Children and Adolescents. International Journal of Multilingualism 5:3  pp. 161 ff. DOI logo
Luk, Jasmine
2013. Bilingual language play and local creativity in Hong Kong. International Journal of Multilingualism 10:3  pp. 236 ff. DOI logo
Lundqvist, Ulla
2019. Smart, Smarter, Smartest: Competition and Linked Identities in a Danish School. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 50:2  pp. 205 ff. DOI logo
Lytra, Vally
2015. Playful Talk, Learners’ Play Frames and the Construction of Identities. In Discourse and Education,  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Lytra, Vally
2017. Playful Talk, Learners’ Play Frames, and the Construction of Identities. In Discourse and Education,  pp. 161 ff. DOI logo
Lytra, Vally
2022. Constructing academic hierarchies. Pragmatics. Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA)  pp. 449 ff. DOI logo
Madsen, Lian Malai
2008. Un Deux Trois – Speak English! Young Taekwondo-Fighters’ Identity Construction Through Linguistic Competition. International Journal of Multilingualism 5:3  pp. 197 ff. DOI logo
Maybin, Janet
2009. A Broader View of Language in School: Research from Linguistic Ethnography. Children & Society 23:1  pp. 70 ff. DOI logo
Miller, Shelby R., Hilal Ergül & Salvatore Attardo
2022. “Dr. Shelby, that’s a world record!”. Pragmatics & Cognition 29:1  pp. 135 ff. DOI logo
Papageorgiou, Spiros
2013.  Assessing Greek . In The Companion to Language Assessment,  pp. 2009 ff. DOI logo
2011. Humor as Safe House in the Foreign Language Classroom. The Modern Language Journal 95:s1  pp. 148 ff. DOI logo
Rampton, Ben, Constadina Charalambous & Panayiota Charalambous
2019. Crossing of a different kind. Language in Society 48:5  pp. 629 ff. DOI logo
Rowe, Lindsey W
2022. Emergent bilingual students’ use of humour in digital composing: Academic and social work. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 22:1  pp. 122 ff. DOI logo
Serip Mohamad, Nur Husna & Hidayu Shafie
2023. ‘Know know married’: playfulness of Manglish in social media platforms. Asian Englishes  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Sifianou, Maria & Arin Bayraktaroğlu
2012. “Face,” Stereotyping, and Claims of Power: The Greeks and Turks in Interaction. In The Handbook of Intercultural Discourse and Communication,  pp. 292 ff. DOI logo
Smith-Christmas, Cassie
2022. Double-voicing and rubber ducks: the dominance of English in the imaginative play of two bilingual sisters. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 25:4  pp. 1336 ff. DOI logo
Uttamchandani, Suraj
2021. Educational intimacy: Learning, prefiguration, and relationships in an LGBTQ+ youth group’s advocacy efforts. Journal of the Learning Sciences 30:1  pp. 52 ff. DOI logo
Verdis, Athanasios, Kleomenis Kalogeropoulos & Christos Chalkias
2019. Regional disparities in access to higher education in Greece. Research in Comparative and International Education 14:2  pp. 318 ff. DOI logo
Waring, Hansun Zhang
2013. Doing Being Playful in the Second Language Classroom. Applied Linguistics 34:2  pp. 191 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2008. PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED (Through December 18, 2007). Language in Society 37:3  pp. 485 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2014. References. In Language and Muslim Immigrant Childhoods,  pp. 311 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 14 february 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFB: Sociolinguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2007025056 | Marc record