Native and non-native speaker identities in interaction : trajectories of power

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Liddicoat, Anthony (2016)

In intercultural interactions in which native speakers communicate with non-native speakers there is potential for asymmetries of power to shape how interaction occurs. These inequalities are not simply the result of a difference in command of the language between interlocutors but rather they relate to the social construction and performance of the identities of each participant. Using data drawn from intercultural interactions in a range of contexts, this article examines some of the ways in which the inequalities of power between native speakers and non-native speakers is an interactionally accomplished product by examining instances of intercultural interaction. Such inequalities are seen in instances of intervention in interactions that create and reaffirm the ideology of native speakers’ authority over language. The most obvious of such interventions are those in which the native speaker takes up an authoritative stance in relation to the linguistic productions of non-native speakers that emphasize the features and circumstances of their production rather than their communicative function. Such interventions may, however, occur in more covert ways. Where such interventions occur they may be ratified as legitimate activities by non-native speaker participants, and the power asymmetry is thereby co-constructed by the participant. However, such asymmetries may also be resisted by non-native speakers when they reassert their communicative intent and in so doing reframe the interaction away from inequalities.\ud \ud
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