Framing, stance, and affect in Korean metalinguistic discourse

Joseph Sung-Yul Park


Studies on language and affect have identified displays of emotions and feelings as important means through which speakers negotiate their social relations and cultural positions. Extending the findings of those studies, this paper discusses how affect must be seen as an important building block for framing, a resource that allows participants to construct frames that have specific grounding in identifiable social meaning. I make this point by illustrating how interactional management of affect contributes to the constitution of frames via the work of stancetaking, based on a discussion of several examples from a specific discursive context - Koreans’ metalinguistic talk about English. While Koreans are commonly known to show much ‘anxiety’ or ‘uneasiness’ about their own English language skills, I demonstrate that such display of affect may be understood as part of an interactional frame for speaking (about) English that allows speakers to position themselves in relation to English and to each other in a culturally and socially appropriate way. The analysis shows that the semiotic resources that speakers employ in their affective displays allow participants to negotiate specific stances that they should take, and to jointly construct a frame for interpreting the interactional import of the ongoing talk.

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