The interactional establishment of the membership category ‘nonnative speaker’ in gatekeeping encounters

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This paper examines how the membership category ‘nonnative speaker’ is interactionally established and initiated by the ‘native speaker’ interviewers during internship interviews between Danish employers and born abroad1 candidates. The analysis is based on 16 recorded internship interviews and related to studies that demonstrate how membership categories are fundamentally indexical of the context of interaction (Day, 2006; Drew & Heritage, 1992; Mondada, 2004). By taking on a membership categorization analysis (MCA) approach and utilizing conversation analytic (CA) tools, this paper shows three different ways in which the interviewers orient to and establish the candidate as a member of the category ‘nonnative speaker’ without performing other-repair. Thus, the paper focuses on orientations to proficiency that are not related to linguistic errors or repair-sequences. The direct address of the interviewers’ orientations to the candidates’ proficiency in our data is noteworthy as it is in stark contrast to previous research which show that other-repair is rarely initiated by native speakers in native/nonnative speaker settings. We argue that language-related membership categorization processes are problematic in institutional settings, such as the interviews analyzed here, as they contribute to the gatekeeping effect of the speech situation by reproducing asymmetrical power relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPragmatics and Language Learning
EditorsKathleen Bardovi-Harlig, J. César Félix-Brasdefer
Number of pages30
PublisherNational Foreign Language Resource Center
Publication dateDec 2016
ISBN (Print)9780983581680
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

ID: 165399838