The Role of Phatic Expressions in Group Identity

“How are you today?” Wait- Before you answer this, consider that this innocuous question in fact is compelling you to respond in a certain way. This phatic expression is a social tool aimed at maintaining communication channels. But these expressions also contain packets of information intended to guide the recipient’s behavior. This project aims to recognize the significance of phatic expressions in communication dynamics and how they intertwine with identity development. Our study will aim to go deep into the intricate relationship between language similarities and identity formation within the context of a vibrant Latina community. We will focus on undergraduate Latina students affiliated with UCLA’s Hermanas Unidas organization. We also gathered data on how people in the Latina community often used slang to communicate with their peers. The use of slang made their communication more personal and easier. We examined informal speech and phatic expressions in English-Spanish dialogue within the Latina community. By observing the way they spoke their language and communicated with slang, we gathered that language truly shapes relationships and reveals the complex layers of language, identity, and communication dynamics. This study will allow us to observe how language forms relationships and unravel the various layers of language, identity, and communication.

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