Code-switching and the Construction of Identity in Where Are We Going, Dad? Season V from the Socio-psycholinguistic Perspective

Xiaoying Fang


This study investigates the code-switching in people’s daily interaction in the outdoor parent-child reality TV show Where Are We Going, Dad? Season V from the socio-psycholinguistic perspective. The main purpose is to reveal how the social meanings of dialogues and identity construction enact in parents’ and their children’s daily interactions. Based on both quantitative and qualitative methods, this study analyzes daily conversations in different situations from three aspects, including speech accommodation, language attitude, and psychological motivation. The findings indicate that code-switching from Mandarin to English plays a more central role in the show. Moreover, code-switching used in the show is regarded as a language choice as well as a way to signify the speaker’s conscious shift of self-identity in a different situation. Language convergence denotes parents’ and their children’s adaptation to local environments and respect for local culture, meaning that speakers try to establish a common identity with the local people. Chinese and English code-switching has been associated with a shift between a soft one in Chinese and a forceful one in English, implying that there is a submissive self in Chinese and an authoritative self in English. The psychological motivation reveals the sense of belonging to the mother tongue and national identity of language users. Therefore, code-switching reveals complex ethnic identities, including the self as a show performer, cultural lover, father, or mother, which are consciously or unconsciously influenced by the speakers’ language repertoire, social background knowledge, and their intention of building ethnic identity.

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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