Multifunctional teasing as a resource for identity construction in the talk of British Bangladeshi girls

Pichler, Pia. 2006. Multifunctional teasing as a resource for identity construction in the talk of British Bangladeshi girls. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 10(2), pp. 225-249. ISSN 13606441 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper explores how multifunctional teasing is used as a resource for the construction of linguistic identities, establishing a link between previous research on teasing and the field of language/discourse and identity. I draw on a corpus of 38 episodes of teasing contained in 80 minutes of spontaneous conversations between five adolescent Bangladeshi girls who formed a friendship group at their comprehensive school in East London. The qualitative analysis of the data reveals that the teasing in this group can serve four main functions: an accomplishment of fun-based solidarity, a release of underlying tensions, a display of toughness but also of respect for other speakers’ dispreference for taboo subjects. Building on Ochs’ (1992) notion of indirect indexicality my discussion of the data will focus on the social meanings of these different functions of teasing which range from maintaining and managing friendship to (re)negotiating class and culture-related identities. I shall argue that the identity work achieved by and in the teasing needs to be seen in relation to stereotypical notions and ideologies about class, gender and culture specific (language) practices which shape the girls’ construction of themselves as British Bangladeshi working class adolescents

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teasing, identity, adolescents, Bangladeshi, gender, social class

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


April 2006Published
1 January 2006Accepted

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Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:41

Last Modified:

26 Sep 2017 10:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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