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ERIC Number: EJ1176972
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1936-7384
"Stop Talking Like That": A Toddler's Construction of Identity at a Family Dinner
Lo, Carol Hoi Yee
Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics, v13 n1 p44-45 2013
Parent-child discourse in family settings provides insights into children's language socialization. In her seminal work on language socialization, Ochs (1993) argues that social identities are essentially constructed by verbal performance and the display of social acts and stances. This paper presents a single case analysis of a family dinner involving a three-and-a-half-year-old child, C, and her parents, M (mother) and F (father), interrogating how C asserts her identity, or resists those imposed on her, by "going categorical" (Stokoe, 2012) when counter-disciplining her parents. This analysis shows that when constructing her category membership, C appropriates her parents' voices and proffers her incumbency in the 'adult' category. The article concludes that the child appropriates adult language to claim power and to subvert the power asymmetry of the parent-child relationship, while the parents invoke duties and obligations associated with the categories 'parents' and 'children' to reinforce the power asymmetry of the status quo.
Teachers College, Columbia University. 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A