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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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Forever FOB?

Forever FOB?

Resisting and Reproducing the Other in High School ESL

Chapter:
(p.347) 21 Forever FOB?
Source:
Beyond Yellow English
Author(s):

Steven Talmy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327359.003.0021

Employing a conceptual framework informed by theories of cultural production, identity markedness, and linguistic discrimination, this chapter examines how an ESL subject position is locally produced by adolescents of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in a high school classroom in Hawai'i. Arguing that “ESL” in this context signifies an exoticized cultural and linguistic Other—what students referred to as “FOB” (“fresh off the boat”)—several classroom interactions are analyzed in which oldtimer “Local ESL” students resist being positioned as FOB, first by challenging their teacher's positioning, and second, by positioning a newcomer classmate as FOB, instead. Through these actions, these students produce identities of “distinction” as “non‐FOBs”; at the same time, however, they reinscribe the same linguicism they had ostensibly been resisting. The chapter concludes by considering ways that the reproduction of linguicism might be interrupted.

Keywords:   adolescents, agency, English as a second language, fractal recursivity, high school, identity, linguicism, social hierarchy, social reproduction

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