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Beyond Yellow EnglishToward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America$
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Angela Reyes and Adrienne Lo

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327359.001.0001

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Styles and Stereotypes

Styles and Stereotypes

Laotian American Girls' Linguistic Negotiation of Identity

(p.21) 2 Styles and Stereotypes
Beyond Yellow English

Mary Bucholtz

Oxford University Press

The chapter considers the different ways in which Southeast Asian American youth may use local varieties of English to negotiate ideologies of race and Asianness in the production of identity. Based on a year of ethnographic fieldwork in an ethnoracially diverse California high school, the chapter shows how two high school girls, both refugees from Laos, navigate conflicting ideologies of Asian immigrant youth as model minorities on the one hand and as dangerous gangsters on the other. Each girl's style was produced linguistically neither in their native language nor in an ethnically distinctive “Asian American English” but through a positive or negative orientation to the linguistic resources of African American Vernacular English and youth slang. The vast diversity of Asian Americans as a panethnic category and the complexity of their identity practices and performances demands richer and more contextually nuanced theorizing of the relationship between language and identity.

Keywords:   African American Vernacular English, Asian Americans, California, identity, ideology, race, slang, stereotypes, style, youth

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