Linguistic and ethnic media stereotypes in everyday talk: Humor and identity construction among friends

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16 Scopus citations


This study explores humorous intertextual media references in the audio-recorded everyday talk of a European American friend group. Focusing on stereotypes of ethnically-marked varieties of American English in media references, I analyze talk where white speakers perform African American English appropriated from an Internet meme and “Hollywood Injun English” as portrayed in TV tropes. I also examine post-recording playback interviews in which speakers acknowledge and comment on the problematic source texts and their performances. I illustrate how speakers construct their individual humorous identities and their shared cultural and ethnic identities through the “others” they voice, while simultaneously activating and reinforcing the social stereotypes represented in the media they reference. While these speakers do not immediately critique these stereotypes, in playback interviews they resist the identities formerly performed, with their statements ranging from ambiguous evaluation to deconstruction of the media and the references. This study contributes to understanding how and why speakers invoke media-embedded linguistic and cultural stereotypes for humorous individual and group identity construction, and how humorous media references serve as a site for activating, reinforcing, and deconstructing media stereotypes about linguistic and cultural identities in everyday interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Discourse analysis
  • Humor
  • Identity
  • Intertextuality
  • Media
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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