Chapter published in:Pragmatics of Accents
Edited by Gaëlle Planchenault and Livia Poljak
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 327] 2021
► pp. 189–204
From I’m the One That I Want to Kim’s Convenience
The paradoxes and perils of implicit in-group “yellowvoicing”
In this chapter, I examine the “implicit yellowvoice performances” by Asian American and Asian Canadian performers as well as the racial implications of such performative acts. In particular, I pay close attention to Margaret Cho’s “Mom” persona in stand-up comic routines and Ins Choi’s “Appa” (Dad) character in Kim’s Convenience (played by Paul Sun-Hyun Lee in CBC’s sitcom adaptation of the play). Ultimately, I argue that while accents play a key role in dramatizing generational and cultural differences between immigrant parents and their assimilated children, the excessive use of exaggerated accents (faked by native speakers, members of speech outgroup) contributes to perpetuating “employment discrimination, anxiety about miscegenation, the necessity of misrecognition, mocking humor…and Orientalist cultural imaginings” (Ono and Pham, 2009).
Keywords: yellowvoice, Asian identity in media, Asian American performance, in-group/out-group, humor, Margaret Cho, Ins Choi, Kim’s Convenience
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2019 “Why I Love Kim’s Convenience.” Medium, January 30. https://medium.com/ChristopherHuang/why-i-love-kims-convenience-1075b62b5071
2016 “How to Do an On-Screen Accent – And Why It Can Be Okay,” Maclean’s, October 11. https://www.macleans.ca/culture/arts/how-to-do-an-on-screen-accent-and-why-it-can-be-okay/
Lee, Robert G.
O’Neill, Edward R.
Ono, Kent A. and Vincent N. Pham
2015 “Aziz Ansari on Master of None. Episode ‘Indians on TV’.” Entertainment Weekly November 7. https://ew.com/article/2015/11/07/aziz-ansari-master-of-none-indians-on-tv/
Shohat, Ella and Robert Stam
2018 “Margaret Cho: ‘The Gay Community Has Never Really Accepted My Bisexuality’.” Hornet, June 22, https://hornet.com/stories/margaret-chos-bisexuality/