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Germans from Different Places: Constructing a German Space in Urban Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2011

Jennifer Dailey-O'Cain*
University of Alberta
Grit Liebscher*
University of Waterloo
University of Alberta, Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, 200 Arts Bldg. Edmonton AB T6G 2E6, Canada, []
University of Waterloo, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, Modern Languages Building, Room 313, 200 University Avenue, West Waterloo ON N2L 3G1, Canada, []


This paper deals with the role of the distinction between Germans from speech islands (the so-called Volksdeutsche) and Germans from Germany (the so-called Reichsdeutsche) in conceptualizing the German community in urban Canada. First, 64 interviews with members of this community were analyzed for stretches of talk in which that distinction was made relevant. Then, a subset of these was chosen for the analysis presented here. Our analysis of these six excerpts employs both conversation analysis and positioning theory in order to show how participants draw on various aspects of place, ethnicity, and time in constructing a German space in Canada and their own ethnic identities in connection with it.*

Copyright © Society for Germanic Linguistics 2011

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