Self-presentation in sociolinguistic interviews: Identities and language variation in Panambi, Brazil

Ana M.S. Zilles, Kendall King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper contributes to recent work examining the role of identity, and in particular the uses of language for self-presentation and the expression of individual identity, through the analysis of two sociolinguistic interviews from a community of German origin in southern Brazil. Drawing from a quantitative study of variation in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, we conducted a detailed analysis of the interviews of two women of different ages and social backgrounds. We first describe the social, cultural and historical context of the interviews, and then discuss how our two speakers use their linguistic resources to express varied, and at times conflicting, aspects of their identities. More specifically, we show how our participants seem to maintain certain in-group, German-linked features, yet also use out-group or Brazilian features in order to index both the (local) German and (regional) Brazilian aspects of their identities. Our data and analysis highlight how participants' identity and language use patterns can be better understood through close analysis of the content of their discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-94
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Brazil
  • German
  • Identity
  • Interview
  • Portuguese


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