Portraying the voice of the other

Quoting as a device for the reproduction and negotiation of in-group and out-group membership


  • Marion Kwiatkowski University of Helsinki


Social identity in the form of group membership is not fixed but may be revised over time. One context which conditions contact between social groups and might lead to a repositioning on the social identity scale is that of migration. This article examines how relations between different sociocultural groups are portrayed and how social identity is linguistically negotiated in accounts on cultural differences by second-generation Bosnian immigrants in Swedish-language Finland. The analysis focusses on how the speakers present their own, as well as the other’s voice, that of the local, non-immigrant population, in the form of direct quotations. The study demonstrates that second-generation immigrant speakers utilise quotations to characterise the non-immigrant population by verbalising their negative and disinterested attitude towards immigrants and their heritage cultures. The second-generation immigrant speakers also use quoting to express their own emotional reaction towards the excluding behaviour by the non-immigrant population and portray themselves as involuntary out-group members in relation to the local non-immigrant population. The article argues that quoting as a stylistic device allows the speakers to implicitly comment on the marginalisation they experience by the non-immigrant population and to make their experiences more tangible for the interlocutor. On a more general level, the present study contributes to our understanding of quotations as devices that pragmatically convey the speaker’s stance towards the quoted content and with that, the quoted party, not only through semantic content, but also through variation within the quotative frame.



2022-03-04 — Updated on 2022-07-26


How to Cite

Kwiatkowski, M. (2022). Portraying the voice of the other: Quoting as a device for the reproduction and negotiation of in-group and out-group membership. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, 16(1), 69–90. https://doi.org/10.47862/apples.113748 (Original work published March 4, 2022)