Publication details [#66733]

Kinginger, Celeste and Sheng-Hsun Lee. 2019. The dialects of control and connection in the study abroad homestay. Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education 4 (1) : 19–44.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


As in every conversation, negotiation for control and connection is at the heart of communication in the study abroad homestay. Finding a comfortable footing on the control-and-connection continua (i.e., closeness versus distance, andhierarchy versus equality) is both a product and a process of language learning in the homestay. Drawing on interviews of all parties and recordings of homestay interactions, this paper presents the dialectical interplay of control and connection through analysis of conversational narratives recounted at Chinese homestay dinner tables. The paper recruits Wertsch's(1998) notion of mediated action to show how stories, as cultural tools, were employed by the hosts and students to construct moral injunctions and to cultivate closeness through mutual caring (gu?nx?n), affective gratification(qièyì), and attentiveness (ti?x?n). Findings of the study challenge assumptions about homestay communication as a power struggle only and underscore the importance of teaching students to appreciate the value of interpersonal exchange in homestay settings.