Pronominal choice in French conversational interaction
This paper examines how national identities are co-constructed and can be the site for struggle in interaction: in particular, how they are affected by general socio-cultural patterns and ideologies, the topics under consideration, and the positioning of the interactants. Through a fine-grained analysis of a conversation in French between three monolingual French speakers and one bilingual speaker of French and (American) English, shifts in the bilingual speaker’s national identities are examined in relation to the topics discussed, the speaker’s own ambivalence about his identities, and the cultural and symbolic capital of one of the monolingual speakers, who has negative prejudices and stereotypes about the U.S. and who seizes power in the interaction. The shifts are shown through identity acts (a sub-type of speech acts) and the use of indefinite/non-specific pronouns in making generic statements. In particular, the shifts go through three stages and create an organization for the conversation.