Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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Using the first-person plural pronoun (we) to refer to a child (=he/she) is repeatedly observed in Chinese parents’ interaction. To understand its interpersonal meanings, this study investigates this non-prototypical pronoun use in Chinese parents’ community of practice. The analysis shows that the non-prototypical use of this pronoun not only displays agency and connection between parents and children but also reveals the seemingly close but detached relationship among parents. This non-prototypical pronoun use unveils the complex and dynamic nature of relational work. We argue for the significance of community of practice in relational work studies, as it can proffer social and cultural contexts to pronoun use and a situated understanding of interactants’ interpersonal relationships. The present study contributes to the documentation of the non-prototypical use of in Chinese contexts and the comprehension of its interpersonal meanings.


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