Center for the Study of Language and Society

On the emergence and diffusion of ethnolectal youth styles in European cities

Donnerstag, 01.10.2020, 16:15 Uhr

Vortrag aus der Reihe "Ringvorlesung Jugendsprache"

Das Forum Language and Society ist eine Reihe von Gastvorträgen zu Themen der Soziolinguistik. Doktorierende der GSAH können sich die Teilnahme als Zuhörende mit 0,25 ECTS pro Vortrag anrechnen lassen. MA Studierende der Soziolinguistik können sich nach Teilnahme an 6 Vorträgen 1 ECTS anrechnen lassen.

Veranstaltende: Forum Language and Society
Redner, Rednerin: Prof. Dr. Stefania Marzo, KU Leuven
Datum: 01.10.2020
Uhrzeit: 16:15 - 17:45 Uhr
Ort: online
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In many European cities, new ethnolectal variants of the local majority language have started to spread among youngsters. Ethnolectal features initially emerged in multiethnic areas as part of the first generation migrants’ lingua franca (viz. the local language with influences from their mother tongue). They were picked up by the next generation who further developed this ethnolectal way of speaking as a means of shaping identity and creating group cohesion. The features then started to spread beyond their initial speech communities and became part of a local vernacular also used by local youngsters without a migrant background. Sociolinguists often call these vernaculars contemporary urban vernaculars or youth speech styles, but each city or region has its own particular vernacular which has often received a specific label (for example Multilingual London English in London, Kiez Deutch in Berlin, Citétaal in Flanders, Straattaal in the Netherlands). The success of these urban vernaculars in European cities is remarkable, in particular, because their increasing popularity is offset by explicit condemnation and stigmatisation among linguistic gatekeepers and laymen who associate these speech styles with low-prestigious language use leading to low professional and social development. In this workshop, we will therefore pay particular attention to the emergence and diffusion of these vernaculars. After a brief introduction where we will sketch a general European panoramic, we look at how ethnolectal features emerge, viz. under which historical, social, and contact linguistic circumstances. We will compare different countries and cities and see how each area has developed a different type of urban vernacular. In the second part, we will discuss the diffusion of ethnolectal features among native-born monolingual speakers (viz. speakers without migrant background). Attention will be paid to how and why these ethnolectal innovations spread, which touches upon a fundamental topic in Labovian sociolinguistics. We look at three possible explanations for the success of urban vernacular features: the social meaning that is attached to the features (these features are often considered as “cool”), the effect of (social) media in the spread of innovations and the role of purely linguistic factors (some features are successful because they allow to better express a new referent). The workshop will consist of theoretical and descriptive parts which will be alternated by discussions and exercises.