Teasing in informal contexts in English as an Asian lingua franca
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This paper explores how speakers of English as a lingua franca (ELF) manage the interactional back-and-forth of teasing, a social action which, being fundamentally ambiguous, is open to interpretation by a target and/or other participants as aggressive in intent. The data reported here draw on the Asian Corpus of English (ACE), and describe some of the more typical teasing practices which occur among Asian ELF speakers in informal, non-task-focused contexts. More specifically, this research explores the interpersonal functions which teasing performs in ACE interactions; the teasing strategies commonly employed to serve these functions; and the responses of recipients to teases targeting them. The data show that teasing is a common practice in interaction among Asian ELF speakers, and is accomplished through a variety of strategies such as jocular mockery, jocular agreement with a target’s negative self-assessment, jocular insult, and banter. Significantly, teasing in ACE appears to be essentially jocular rather than conveying veiled aggression; markers such as laughter, heightened vocal pitch and lexical exaggeration are commonly employed to signpost the non-serious nature of such utterances. Teases are also commonly received as jocular by recipients; there are no instances of offense being expressed by a tease recipient.
Journal of English as a Lingua Franca
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Linguistics not elsewhere classified