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StanceSociolinguistic Perspectives$
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Alexandra Jaffe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331646

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331646.001.0001

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From Stance to Style

From Stance to Style

Gender, Interaction, and Indexicality in Mexican Immigrant Youth Slang

(p.146) 7 From Stance to Style

Mary Bucholtz

Oxford University Press

This chapter seeks to contribute to an indexical theory of style by demonstrating how the relationship between stance, style, and identity is formed both from the bottom up, as it unfolds in local interaction, and from the top down, through the workings of broader cultural ideologies. This bidirectional process is examined as it is constructed via the use of a single slang term popular among many Mexican and Mexican American youth, güey ([gwej], often lenited to [wej]). Although this term is frequently translated as “dude,” the chapter argues, building on Scott Kiesling's (2004) work on dude, and these terms index similar stances, they often participate in rather different styles of youthful masculinity. The analysis draws on both interactional data and media representations to argue that the semiotic multivalence of güey allows it to operate (often simultaneously) as a marker both of interactional alignment and of a particular gendered style among Mexican-American youth.

Keywords:   identity, ideology, masculinity, indexicality, Mexican-Americans, slang, Spanish, stance, style, youth

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