Language socialization and interculturality: address terms in intergenerational talk in Chinese diasporic families

Zhu Hua*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to contribute to the current debate on 'interculturality' (IC) by investigating the process of language socialization whereby different generations of diasporic families negotiate, construct, and renew their sociocultural values and identities through interaction. Focusing on the use of address terms and 'talk about social, cultural, and linguistic practice,' the paper argues that IC is not only a dynamic process through which participants make aspects of their multiple and shifting identities relevant, but also a process of developing new social and cultural identities. In effect, it serves as a direct means of language socialization for the younger generation who are developing their sociocultural roles and learning about the social and cultural appropriateness of behavior in a diasporic context, where there are potentially substantial differences in social and cultural values between the wider local community and the diasporic community. Language socialization is regarded in this study as not simply about passing social and cultural values from one generation to another, but about bringing about changes in social and cultural values. Through language socialization, the younger generations of diasporic communities not only internalize the social, cultural and linguistic norms of their community, but also play an active role in constructing and creating their own social and cultural identities as well as bringing about changes to the existing community and family norms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-205
Number of pages17
JournalLanguage and Intercultural Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2010


  • Address terms
  • Chinese diasporic community
  • Interculturality
  • Intergenerational talk
  • Language socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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