How listening is silenced: A monolingual Taiwanese elder constructs identity through television viewing

Shumin Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite a growing literature on the production and reproduction of linguistic inequality in mass media, we know little about how individuals experience such sociolinguistic marginalization. To fill this gap, this study examines a monolingual Taiwanese elderly womans experiences of television viewing. In the context of language shift in Taiwan after 40 years of Mandarin-only policy, language hierarchy persists despite the current policy of multilingualism. Although the subject does not understand the referential meaning of most shows because of language barriers, she recognizes socially indexical meanings about the ranking of languages and how she is positioned and excluded. The unequal participant structure in the dynamic interactions between two overlapping communicative events of television viewing and family discussions of the shows doubly marginalizes her. This study demonstrates how the choice of linguistic code in television programming conveys meaning and structures participation frameworks that engage minority monolingual individuals in dialogic processes of identity construction. (Sociolinguistic marginalization, participation framework, Bakhtin, identity, Taiwan, television)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-337
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage in Society
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2009

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