On the use of ‘we’ in Flemish World War II interviews

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This chapter focuses on the ‘we’-form and its relation to identity construction in fifteen World War II narratives elicited by interviews. First, I address this issue from a quantitative perspective by mirroring the pronominal usage of the interviewer and the interviewee and by executing a contextual referent analysis of the ‘we’-form. Second, I shift to a qualitative perspective to demonstrate the central position of the ‘we’-form in the interviewees’ construction of the collective identity of the group of deported prisoners of war. The use of the ‘we’-form is only avoided when taboo topics are being discussed. The findings thus illustrate the importance of the ‘we’-form as a marker of identity.


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