Educational exchanges are increasingly seen as grassroots endeavors to promote intercultural understanding. This presentation will focus on the phenomenon of American study abroad in China. Dr. Wenhao Diao collected a large spoken corpus from conversations between American study abroad students and their Chinese roommates. Then the analysis will focus on how these American and Chinese college students negotiate stance and manage identity in discourse. The Chinese students utilized Mandarin pragmatic markers to subtly negotiate stance and affect in potentially confrontational conversations, such as religious differences and political views. Frequent and exaggerated use of these pragmatic markers in Mandarin can also enact gendered cuteness among young women in China. Yet, the American students rarely used these pragmatic markers. Moreover, American women also largely failed to recognize their Chinese peers’ gendered performance in discourse; some women even criticized their Chinese roommates for not understanding their perspectives.
Dr. Wenhao Diao is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies and the doctoral program of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) at the University of Arizona. Her research has appeared in journals such as Applied Linguistics, the Modern Language Journal, and System, among others. She co-guest edited a special issue entitled Study Abroad in the 21st Century for the L2 Journal. She has received funding from the U.S. Federal Department of Education, and recently her proposed collaborative teacher-training seminar project in China was awarded a Fulbright-Hays grant.