The Sociolinguistics of nail care

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Abstract

Have you recently had a manicure or a pedicure? I haven’t. In fact, I’ve never been to a nail salon in my life. Until about a decade ago that would not have been unusual among my friends and acquaintances. Today, however, this fact makes me an exception. Most of the women I know nowadays visit nail salons and here in Sydney little girls have ‘nail parties’ for their birthdays where they and their friends get their nails ‘done.’ If you haven’t bucked the trend and have been to a ‘nail bar’ recently, chances are you were served by a Vietnamese nail technician and/or the store was Vietnamese-owned. In the USA, for instance, less than 1% of the population are Vietnamese but 80% of nail technicians in California and 43% nationwide are Vietnamese. No surprise then that this 2008 Los Angeles Times article claims “it’s hard to meet a manicurist who isn’t Vietnamese.” Vietnamese nail technicians also dominate the market in the UK and most of continental Europe, in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of Asia including, unsurprisingly, Vietnam.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
PublisherLanguage on the move
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
  • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)

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