Marina Ruiz Tada

Negotiating Membership Identities in Japanese-English Facebook Statuses

This study examines the interactional processes between Japanese-English multicultural and multilingual speakers in online conversation on social networking technologies (SNS), specifically the interfaces between multimodality and multilingualism. These SNS’s have given rise to instances where interactants post short texts as cue for conversation, and allowing comments by other members in their virtual networks, creating a truly multilingual space for the case of many bilingual users. Furthermore, we must consider the ways in which the sharing of various links, pictures, texts, and videos contribute to bilingual discursive practices in online spaces. We must also consider the conditions of production of these texts, for instance, whether the conversation is asynchronous or synchronous, although these conversations are happening faster than before due to mobile access to the Internet. In addition, this study shows how these modalities and conditions that these websites allow, such as differences in orthography, are used by interactants to align and disalign with various memberships that emerge within the text. In particular, I discursively examine three Facebook statuses of babies that Japanese-English bilinguals posted that created conditions for respondents to either show affiliation or disaffiliation. This study particularly focuses on how various linguistic choices and what kinds of modalities contribute to the co-construction of conversation between interactants. Therefore, this study views media affordances as important and creative tools for bilinguals to shape conversational pragmatics and display their various affiliations in identity.