Presentation on theme: "Multicultural London English: blueprint for the future?"— Presentation transcript:
1 Multicultural London English: blueprint for the future? School of English, Sheffield4 March 2015Multicultural London English: blueprint for the future?Paul KerswillUniversity of York
2 London’s multiethnolect: Multicultural London English The term multiethnolect was first used by Clyne (2000)In northwest Europe, ‘multiethnolect’ is widely applied to the speech of young people living in multicultural and multilingual districts of large citiesIt’s a variety of the host language, formed in a community with a high proportion of 2nd language speakers
3 Who speaks it and when? Multiethnolects occupy a continuum: Vernacular speakers of Multicultural London English (MLE) are usually working classElements of MLE, especially slang, available to other speakers, including middle class, as styleVernacular varietyYouth style
4 LabelsPejorative terms (invented, or at least propagated by the media):Kanak SprakKebabnorskSmurfentaalJafaican (origin obscure!)Academics’ terms, often based on local usage:Kiezdeutsch (Wiese 2012)rinkebysvenska (Kotsinas 1989)straattaal (Cornips et al.)Multicultural London English (Kerswill/Cheshire)
5 What is MLE like?Indefinite pronoun man: I don’t really mind how my girl looks…..it’s her personality man’s looking atThis is + Speaker quotative: This is me I’m from east LondonPronunciation:Strikingly different diphthongs in e.g. coat, face, price, mouthUse of ‘h’ in e.g. go home, my house …5
6 Zack: well they say I physically attacked my headteacher but I didn’t like I had a fight with him it was a fightit weren’t just me beating him up it was a fight cos likecos like but that’s whyI didn’t get arrested or nothingSue: what happened then?Zack: no it was like it was the end of school yeah so that school’s finished yeahand everyone was going homeand I was getting my bike from the bike rackand I was going outand I was riding my bikeand he stopped my bikeI was like “yeah”and he goes “get off the bike”I was like “why am I getting off the bike I’m going home now like I’ve gotta go home” yeahhe was like “no get off the bike walk the bike outside of school”I was like “what’s the point?” yeahcos like it’s quite far like to get out the school from the entrance like in the school yeahand he goes “ah no get off the bike” yeahso like he kind of shoved me off the bikeso I dropped it but I didn’t fall over like but I kind of stumbled yeahand he put his he tried to take my bike up to his office like he was gonna keep my bike thereI was like “nah” likeand this time everyone was gathering round cos we were shouting at each other yeahhe was like “no I’m taking your bike upstairs”I was like “what’s the point in that when I’m just gonna take it back downstairs”so I must have pulled the bike off him yeahand I put it I put it I leant it up against the wall yeahand I walked over to himand this is me “what what’s your what’s your problem?”and he goes “I don't like you”I was like “I don't like you” yeahso I just swung for him and then we likebut we had a fight though [Sue: did you] and I got kicked out of schoollike I weren’t allowed into any school that’s why I came here last yearZack, 17 Hackney 2005
7 Web resource with MLE extracts English Language Teaching Resources Archive
8 When did it start?1950s on: Anglos (white British) and African-Caribbeans (mainly from Jamaica) formed the most numerous groupsTheir linguistic repertoires differed:Both Anglos and African-Caribbeans: CockneyAfrican-Caribbeans: ‘London Jamaican’ or ‘Patois’
9 The view from academe, c. 1984Mark Sebba and Roger Hewitt recognised the existence of this repertoireBut noted an intermediate ‘Black Cockney’ or ‘multiethnic/multiracial vernacular’Apparently for use in adolescent peer groups onlySo not actually a native dialect, but more a style
10 A criminologist speaks John Pitts notes the start of a new youth language among young black people in the East End in the early 1980s, when their deteriorating social position was preventing them from living up to their parents’ expectationsPitts argues that the new dialect reflects a ‘resistance identity’. (29 minutes in)
12 Linguistic Innovators: the English of Adolescents in London (2004–7) Investigators: Paul Kerswill (Lancaster University) Jenny Cheshire (Queen Mary, University of London) Research Associates: Sue Fox (Queen Mary, University of London) Eivind Torgersen (Lancaster University)E· S· R· CECONOMIC& S O C I A L RESEARCHC O U N C I LFunded by the Economic and Social Research Council
13 Project design: ‘Innovators’ project 16 elderly Londoners98 17 year old Londonersfrom inner London (Hackney) and outer London (Havering)female, male“Anglo” and “non-Anglo”Free interviews in pairs1.4m words transcribed orthographically, stored in a database time-aligned at turn level
14 Multicultural London English: the emergence, acquisition and diffusion of a new variety (2007–10) Investigators: Paul Kerswill (Lancaster University) Jenny Cheshire (Queen Mary, University of London) Research Associates: Sue Fox, Arfaan Khan, (Queen Mary, University of London) Eivind Torgersen (Lancaster University)E· S· R· CECONOMIC& S O C I A L RESEARCHC O U N C I LFunded by the Economic and Social Research Council
15 Project design: MLE project Six age groups: 4-5, 8, 12, 17, c.25, c.40North Londonfemale, male“Anglo” and “non-Anglo”Free interviews in pairsc. 1.5m words transcribedPhonological and grammatical analysisPerception tests
17 Sociohistorical context of Multicultural London English High in-migration of population originating from countries other than the UK from 1950s onwardsPoverty – Hackney has the highest rating on indicators of deprivation out of all 355 boroughs in EnglandPoverty leaves all groups in these boroughs with few opportunities for interaction with the wider, mainstream, mobile communityAt the same time, there is the formation of dense, family and neighbourhood networksBecause of extreme ethnic heterogeneity and lack of residential segregation, there are contacts across ethnic groups among young people
18 Immigration to LondonResident population by country of birth, London & UK, 2006Inner LondonOuter LondonGreater LondonRest of UKUKLondon as % of UKAll persons2,856,0004,496,0007,352,00051,489,00058,841,00012Born in UK1,756,0003,276,0005,031,00047,961,00052,992,0009Born outside UK1,100,0001,220,0002,320,0003,528,0005,849,00040% born outside UK392732710Source: Annual Population Survey 2006
21 What kinds of English formed the input to MLE? Creole-influenced varieties (Jamaica, etc.)Ex-colonial Englishes (Pakistan, Nigeria …)Learner varieties of varietiesThe local London vernacular (‘Cockney')Kinds of English encountered in the school (Standard English, teachers’ varieties)Media (television)Monolingual English speakers have also been exposed to all these varieties
22 Diphthong vowels of elderly male speaker from Hackney born 1918
23 Diphthong vowels of young male from Hackney, Afro-Caribbean origin, born 1989
24 Discourse markers, a new pronoun and quotatives as contact-based innovations in inner London
25 Discourse markers: I got the right moves innit but I ain't telling you though still . I ain't telling youIndefinite pronoun man: I don’t really mind how my girl looks…..it’s her personality man’s looking atWhy…..for question frame: I said “why you searching my jacket for?”This is + Speaker quotative expression: This is me “I’m from east London”25
26 New quotative in London: This is + speaker i) this is them “what area are you from . what part?”this is me “I’m from East London”ii) this is him “don’t lie . if I search you and if I find one I’ll kick your arse”iii) this is my mum “what are you doing? I was in the queue before you”iv) this is my mum’s boyfriend “put that in your pocket now”
28 Summary of MLE features Narrow diphthongs and monophthongs replace broad diphthongs in FACE and GOAT: [æɪ] [eɪ] [e:] and [ʌʊ] [oʊ] [o:]Backing of /k/ before low back vowels to [q]Full reinstatement of /h/ - no h-dropping!More syllable-timed (staccato) rhythmUse of a new quotative: this is + SPEAKER, as in ‘This is me: let’s go now’Widespread use of slang, including blood (friend), cuss (defame), ends (place of residence), mandem (Creole plural), rude, safe, tief (steal), man (as address term), man (as indefinite pronoun). Many of these are of Jamaican origin.
29 Conclusions on the question ‘What is MLE’? MLE is a new, mixed varietyIt varies to a small extent across ethnicities, but most is sharedIt is distinct from traditional London English in specific waysBut some features may be tied to youth stylethey will be lost in adulthoodthey aren’t consistently usedslang is a case in point, and needs investigationBut many will be kept – it is the speakers’ vernacularMLE has a social construction by young people as ‘our language’, ‘cool’, non-racial, in opposition to both Cockney and RP
30 Tracing Multicultural London English in British newspapers Kerswill, Paul The objectification of ‘Jafaican’: the discoursal embedding of Multicultural London English in the British media. In Androutsopoulos, Jannis (ed.) The Media and Sociolinguistic Change. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 428–455.
31 The multiethnolect in the papers Nexis UK databaseI searched for Jafaican (Jafaikan) and Multicultural London English in July 201262 articles contained at least one occurrence of Jafaican29 contained Multicultural London English, of which 20 also contained Jafaican.
32 Jafaican pushes out Cockney THE Cockney accent is being pushed out of its heartland by a new kind of speech. Playgrounds and housing estates of London are alive with the sound of an accent that sounds Jamaican with flavours from West Africa and India. The Standard can reveal that this new English variety is replacing Cockney in inner London, as more white children adopt the speech patterns and vocabulary of their black neighbours and classmates. Teachers have dubbed the phenomenon Jafaican and TV's Ali G would understand it perfectly. Evening Standard 10th April 2006
33 Jafaican as contemporary, classless, modern, stylish It's significant that the message-board of the new Englishness is MySpace, the social networking website that somehow flattens out the traditional nuances of class differentiation. It's there, too, in the magpie lexicon from which the lyrics are drawn, with many of them delivered in the fertile hybrid of Cockney, the Queen's English and pretend Jamaican - what's it called? Jafaican? - that is the lingua franca of young southern England. Daily Telegraph 23rd December 2006
34 Jafaican and people ‘in the know’ End-of-year quiz in the Evening Standard, 24th December 2010:‘How did Nang, Greezy and Butters triumph in 2010?a) They are the producers who work on the X Factor winner's recordings.b) They are the stars of a new CBeebies show.c) They are "street" or "Jafaican" expressions which have overtaken Cockney slang terms.d) They are ingredients popularised by Delia Smith in her last Waitrose promotion.’
35 Time Out, 2nd August 2012 Welcome to The London Citizenship Test. ......You have already demonstrated adequate speaking and listening skills in London's three key dialects (Estuarine, Mockney and Jafaican) and, having attained level two Posh, are able to buy shoes confidently in Knightsbridge ...
36 Jafaican and the far right Cockneys Have Become First British Group to be Ethnically CleansedThe Cockney culture and language has been ethnically cleansed from London’s East End as mass Third World immigration has pushed white people into minority status and destroyed the world-famous accent.
37 Starkey, Jamaican and the riots: just how wrong could he be Starkey, Jamaican and the riots: just how wrong could he be? TEDx talk, September 2011: Who’s an East Ender now? Migration and the transformation of the Cockney dialect
38 David Starkey comments on the London riots, Newsnight, 13 August 2011
39 David Starkey:‘The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic, gangster culture has become the fashion, and black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together, this language which is wholly false, which is this Jamaican patois that has been intruded in England, and that is why so many of us have this sense of, literally, a foreign country.’
40 Linguist Geoff Pullum on Starkey (THE, 18 August 2011) ‘Did Starkey really mean what he said? Well, he gave an additional clear indication of believing that the dangerous blacks are marked out by their patois, while safe ones such as the MP for Tottenham speak white English. “Listen to David Lammy, an archetypical successful black man,” he said in his defence: “if you turned the screen off, so that you were listening to him on radio, you'd think he was white.” ...’
41 Starkey’s double mistake He is hearing ‘Jamaican’, when actually he’s hearing MLEWrong attribution of foreignnessHe ascribes a violent disposition directly to the language
42 19 August 2014James Foley’s killer is heard speaking with a British accentNow known to be Mohammed EmwaziLinguists (myself included!) widely interviewed, and confirmed the jihadist in the video as a speaker of Multicultural London English‘Multicultural London English’ appears dozens of times on the Internet closely associated with the jihadist
43 Consequences Media exposure makes accents more recognisable Media discourses strongly guide the way an accent is perceived sociallyMLE has become negatively stereotyped, after a brief ‘honeymoon’ back in 2006 when the term was first used by the pressThe riots and (especially) the explicit mention of MLE in the context of the London Jihadist will accelerate the negative stereotyping
44 Blueprint for the future? More multicultural accents/dialects can be expected in the futureBut they may remain restricted to inner citiesConstant renewal of immigrant populationsEast End has had large-scale immigration over centuriesThe linguistic and social mix will changeMLE and its successors are now part of our dialect landscape
45 Kerswill, Paul, Torgersen, Eivind & Fox, Susan (2008) Kerswill, Paul, Torgersen, Eivind & Fox, Susan (2008). Reversing ‘drift’: Innovation and diffusion in the London diphthong system. Language Variation and Change 20: 451–491.Torgersen, Eivind and Anita Szakay (2012) An investigation of speech rhythm in London English. Lingua.Cheshire, Jenny, David Adger and Sue Fox (2013). Relative who and the actuation problem. Lingua 126 (2013) 51–77.
46 Kerswill, Paul (fc 2014). The objectification of ‘Jafaican’: the discoursal embedding of Multicultural London English in the British media. In J. Androutsopoulos (ed.) Media and sociolinguistic change. Mouton.Kerswill, Paul (fc 2013). Identity, ethnicity and place: the construction of youth language in London. In P. Auer et al. (eds.) Space in Language and Linguistics. Berlin: De Gruyter.Torgersen, Eivind (2012). A perceptual study of ethnicity and geographical location in London and Birmingham. In P. Stoeckle, S. Hansen, T. Streck and C. Schwartz (eds.) Raumkonzepte. Freiburg: FRIAS.Cheshire, Jenny, Kerswill, Paul, Fox, Susan & Torgersen, Eivind (2011). Contact, the feature pool and the speech community: The emergence of Multicultural London English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15/2: 151–196.Kerswill, Paul, Cheshire, Jenny, Fox, Susan and Torgersen, Eivind (2012). English as a contact language: the role of children and adolescents. In Hundt, Marianne & Schreier, Daniel (eds.) English as a contact language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
47 ReferencesCheshire, Jenny, Kerswill, Paul, Fox, Susan & Torgersen, Eivind Contact, the feature pool and the speech community: The emergence of Multicultural London English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15/2: 151–196.Kerswill, Paul Identity, ethnicity and place: the construction of youth language in London. In P. Auer, M. Hilpert, A. Stukenbrock & B. Szmrecsanyi (eds). Space in language and linguistics: geographical, interactional, and cognitive perspectives. Berlin: de Gruyter, pp Kerswill, Paul The objectification of ‘Jafaican’: the discoursal embedding of Multicultural London English in the British media. In Androutsopoulos, Jannis (ed.) The Media and Sociolinguistic Change. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 428–455.