ForumVol. 16, No. 2 (2016)

Signaling Learner Stance through Multimodal Resources

Nadja Tadic

Teachers College, Columbia University


Stance refers to a display of a socially recognized epistemic or affective attitude toward a referent or proposition (Ochs, 1993). Although this display of attitude can be performed linguistically, paralinguistically, and non-verbally (Du Bois, 2007), it has primarily been explored in terms of linguistic strategies (use of reference terms, constructed dialogue, repetition, etc.) that can contribute to the process of socialization and the expression and construction of sociocultural identities and relationships. Gordon (2004), for instance, showed how members of one family socialized each other and constructed a shared identity as Democrats by using referring terms, repetition, narratives, constructed dialogue, and laughter to express positive and negative stances toward presidential candidates in the 2000 U.S. elections. Damari (2010) demonstrated how, during an interview, a married couple used constructed dialogue, constructed stance, verb tense, and adverbials to express their own and each other’s stances and thus construct divergent identities related to their cultural differences. And in her analysis of interviews with members of a Jewish community in Philadelphia, Schiffrin (1984) found that, by expressing divergent stances or disagreements, her participants actually signaled closeness and solidarity.