Performing bilingualism in Wales: Arguing the case for empirical and theoretical eclecticism

Nigel Musk

Abstract

This article examines Welsh young people’s “performance” and construction of their bilingualism with the help of empirically grounded conversation analysis (CA) and performativity theory grounded in poststructuralism. Some of the incompatibilities, particularly conversation analysts’ narrow conception of context are resolved with reference to dialogical theory. It is argued with the help of video-recorded empirical data that a fine-grained analysis using CA is able to trace the emergence of varying bilingual identities as well as the negotiation of meaning in situ. To take the analysis beyond single situated actions, however, it is argued that we need recourse to the broader situation-transcending constructs offered, for example, by dialogical and performativity theory.

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