The POS system: Language socialization through technology in a Vietnamese restaurant in South Texas

Keywords: language socialization, language use, technology, Vietnamese, language learning, English in the workplace, transnational contexts, Vietnamese EFL learners


Under the language socialization paradigm, the research reported here focuses on documenting communication and language socialization patterns, mediated through a point-of-sale (POS) system, among the migrant staff working in a Vietnamese restaurant in South Texas, USA. The study employed an ethnographic approach that drew upon analyses of observation field notes, semi-structured interviews, naturalistic data, and artefacts. Findings suggest that in channelling work-related communication within the restaurant, the POS system also acts as (i) a socializing tool into the working culture, (ii) a site for meaning-making and learning, and (iii) a crucial link in the joint acts of socialization. The paper concludes by proposing a model of what transnational sites could do to promote the process of second language socialization and enculturation; in so doing, it also seeks to contribute to the growing body of research on language socialization, especially with regard to its intersection with technologies, as well as provide refreshed perspectives on migrant workers’ language development and acculturation process in similar contexts of migration.

Author Biography

Nguyen Dao, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Nguyen Dao is a Ph.D. student in Culture, Literacy, and Language at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Before moving to San Antonio, Nguyen worked as an ESL teacher in Vietnam. Then he earned his M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Houston and worked in Houston for two years as an academic program coordinator. His research interests include language learning, language socialization, literacy practices, and identity among Vietnamese- and Asian-Americans. He is now working as a graduate research assistant and as the academic coordinator of the Texas Language Education Research (TexLER) conference.

How to Cite
Dao, N. (2019). The POS system: Language socialization through technology in a Vietnamese restaurant in South Texas. The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 6(2), 105-117. Retrieved from