This course addresses the question of how language practices and ideologies
are involved in creating and reproducing difference between ‘members’ of youth
subcultures and those who are not. Subcultures, and youth subcultures in
particular, are characterized by extremely rapid linguistic innovation providing
unique opportunities to capture processes of identity formation as they unfold.
In subcultural contexts, more than anywhere else, language practices (roughly
defined as ‘group-specific ways of using language’) are the object of debate and
evaluation. It is here that specific language ideologies (defined as ‘sets of
beliefs about the aesthetic and/or moral qualities of specific language
practices’) are produced and reproduced: in discussing what is right or wrong,
authentic or fake, social and cultural boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’ are
set up and maintained.
Maintaining these boundaries has become increasingly difficult in the face of the ever-increasing influence of popular mass media commodifying subcultural styles. As soon as subcultural ways of speaking become available to everyone through the mass media, subcultural members will feel the need to re-evaluate and innovate their ways of speaking in order to distance themselves from ‘inauthentic’ wannabe members.
It is these dynamic langue practices and ideologies that we will try to analyze and explain in this course.
For this course, no prior background in (socio-)linguistics is required; some preparatory background reading, however, is recommended.
A highly readable text that may be consulted is:
Finegan, Edward. 2004. Language: Its structure and use (4th edition). Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
(read Part II: Language use) earlier editions of this book may also be used
dr. Vincent A. de Rooij (see Blackboard for contact info)
Tuesday 09:00 - 12:00 hrs; Spinhuis, Room 001 (entrance: Korte Spinhuissteeg)
Class attendance is obligatory. If you must miss class for any reason, I expect you to notify me in advance by e-mail or telephone. Students who miss more than two meetings may be excluded from the course.
Students are expected to actively participate in discussing the assigned weekly readings. Active involvement in class meetings will reflect positively on your final grade. Students are encouraged to bring to class and present observations, newspaper clippings, or other materials bearing on the topics discussed.
Assignments are due at 5 PM on the Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting. I prefer
to have hard copy but I also accept submission by e-mail.
The weekly coursework will consist of brief reviews (appr. 200 words) of required
readings or data collection assignments. The reviews will be graded, and the
average grade for the reviews will make up 25% of the final grade. The remaining
75% of the grade is made up by the final paper (see below).
Late assignments will have 1 point deducted for each day past the deadline.
The final paper (appr. 6000 words) makes up 75% of the final grade. The deadline
for the final paper is Friday 16 December 2005, 17:00 hrs.
Late submissions will have 1 point deducted for each day past the deadline.
Before submitting your paper, make sure to insert page numbering. Tables, figures, and photos in the text should be numbered (Table|Figure|Photo 1,2,.,.) and have a descriptive caption. Also, check your spelling and bibliographic references. The paper should have a title page containing the title of the paper, your name and student number, the name of the course and the name of the course instructor, and, finally, the date of submission. For in-text citations and the list of bibliographic references at the end of the paper, use your preferred style but make sure to apply it in a rigorous and consistent manner.
The final paper must be submitted by e-mail to the following address:
All papers sent to this address will be checked on traces of plagiarism. If you are found guilty of plagiarism, you will receive a failing grade (or no grade at all), and you may be subject to further disciplinary action.
Plagiarism is a form of theft, deception, and fraud. It may be committed knowingly and deliberately but in many cases is the tragic result of sloppiness, time pressure, or simply of not knowing what plagiarism is and why it is wrong. Please read one or more of the following webpages that explain what plagiarism is, why it is wrong, and how to avoid it.
|Week & Date||Topic||Assignment||Readings||Main question(s) addressed|
|1 [6 September]||Introduction||prepare a brief statement explaining your interest in, and expectations of the course||---|
|2 [13 September]||The study of youth subcultures I||review of one of the readings||Bucholtz 2000
|why is the
study of youth subcultures important?
how and why did the interest in youth subcultures develop?
|3 [20 September]||The study of youth subcultures II||review of one of the readings||
|4 [27 September]||Discourse and youth identities I||
topic for final paper
review of one of the readings
& Georgakopoulou 2003
|how are youth identities created through discursive action?|
|5 [4 October]||Discourse and youth identities II||
bibliography for final paper
review of one of the readings
|6 [11 October]||Resistance||
review of one of the readings
& Wooffitt 1995
|what motivates youths to create youth subcultures?|
|7 [18 October]||
doing research &
|8 [25 October]||
doing research &
|9 [1 November]||doing
|10 [8 November]||Crossing I||review
of Rampton 2005
||Rampton 2005||how and why do youths transcend 'ethnic' and 'linguistic' boundaries?|
|11 [15 November]||Crossing II||
first draft final paper
review of one of the readings
& Keim 2003
|12 [22 November]||Race in/and youth culture||review
of one of the readings
|what is the role of 'race' in the construction of youth subcultures?|
|13 [29 November]||Authenticity and authenticization||review of one of the readings||Bucholtz 2003
|what is the role of 'authenticity' in youth subcultures?|
|14 [6 December]||Language and youth subcultures in the Netherlands||review of one of the readings||Appel &
|what are the
social functions of 'street language'?
what does 'street language' stand for?
|15 [13 December]||Lexical items in the construction of social identity||--||Cornips &
De Rooij 2004
|how are lexical items used for social labelling?|
paper due date
Please note: titles may be added to this list throughout the duration of the course
Articles marked with * are available online through Blackboard (in the section Course readings). Articles in purple typeface are required readings. Inspection copies of assigned readings that are not online will be available at the beginning of the course.
Folb, Edith A. (1980). Runnin' down some lines: The language and culture of black teenagers. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press. [excerpts]
Hewitt, Roger. (1986). White talk black talk: Inter-racial friendship and communication amongst adolescents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [excerpts]
Rampton, Ben. (2005). Crossing: Language & ethnicity among adolescents (second edition). Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing. (£ 19.99), see book description on the publisher’s website: http://www.stjerome.co.uk/encounters/1-900650-77-0.html
Widdicombe, Sue, and Robin Wooffitt. (1995). The language of youth subcultures : Social identity in action. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. [excerpts]
Amit-Talai, Vered. (1995). Conclusion: The 'multi' cultural of youth. In Vered Amit-Talai and Helena Wulff (eds.), Youth cultures: A cross-cultural perspective. London: Routledge. 223-233.
Androutsopoulos, Jannis, and Alexandra Georgakopoulou. (2003). Discourse constructions of youth identities: Introduction. In Jannis K. Androutsopoulos and Alexandra Georgakopoulou (eds.), Discourse constructions of youth identities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 1-25.
*Appel, René, and Rob Schoonen. (2005). Street language: A multilingual youth register in the Netherlands. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 26(2):85-117.
*Blackburn, Molly V. (2005). Agency in borderland discourses: Examining language use in a community center with black queer youth. Teachers College Record 107(1):89-113.
*Bucholtz, Mary. (1999). "Why be normal?": Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls. Language in Society 28(2): 203-223.
*___. (2000). Language and youth culture. American Speech 75(3):280-283.
*___. (2002). Youth and cultural practice. Annual Review of Anthropology 31:525-552.
*___. 2003. Sociolinguistic nostalgia and the authentication of identity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(3):398-416.
Caputo, Virginia. (1995). Anthropology's silent 'others': A consideration of some conceptual and methodological issues for the study of youth and children's cultures. In Vered Amit-Talai and Helena Wulff (eds.), Youth cultures: A cross-cultural perspective. London: Routledge. 19-42.
Clark, John, Stuart Hall, Tony Jefferson, and Brian Roberts. (1976). Subcultures, cultures and class: A theoretical overview. In Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson (eds.), Resistance through rituals: Youth subcultures in post-war Britain. London: Hutchinson (in association with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham). 9-74.
*Cook, Suzanne E. (2004). New technologies and language change: Toward an anthropology of linguistic frontiers. Annual Review of Anthropology 33:103-115.
Cornips, Leonie, and Vincent de Rooij. (2004). The concept of neger 'negro' in a Rotterdam youth language and culture (The Netherlands), Paper read at NWAV (New Ways of Analyzing Variation) 33, Ann Arbor, 30 September - 3 October 2004.
*Coupland, Nikolas. (2003). Sociolinguistic authenticities. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(3):417-431.
*Cutler, Cecilia. (2003). "Keepin' it real": White hip-hoppers' discourses of language, race, and authenticity. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 13(2):211-233.
*Dirim, Inci, and Andreas Hieronymus. (2003). Cultural orientation and language use among multilingual youth groups: 'For me it is like we all speak one language.' Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 24(1-2):42-55.
Georgakopoulou, Alexandra. (2003). Looking back when looking ahead: On adolescents’ identity management in narrative practices. In Jannis K. Androutsopoulos and Alexandra Georgakopoulou (eds.), Discourse constructions of youth identities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 75-91.
*Goodwin, Marjorie Harness. (2002). Building power asymmetries in girls interaction. Discourse & Society 13(6):715-730.
James, Allison. (1995). Talking of children and youth: Language, socialization and culture. In Vered Amit-Talai and Helena Wulff (eds.), Youth cultures: A cross-cultural perspective. London: Routledge. 43-62.
Jaspers, Jürgen. (2004). Marokkaanse jongens en het Antwerps dialect [Moroccan boys and the Antwerp dialect]. In Arjan van Leuvensteijn, Roeland van Hout en Henk Aertsen (red.), Taalvariatie en groepsidenteit [Language variation and group identity] (=Taal en tongval, Themanummer 17). Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit. 135-165.
Kallmeyer, Werner, and Inken Keim. (2003). Linguistic variation and the construction of social identity in a German-Turkish setting. In Jannis K. Androutsopoulos and Alexandra Georgakopoulou (eds.), Discourse constructions of youth identities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 29-46.
*Kiesling, Scott F. (2004). Dude. American Speech 79(3):281-305.
*Kiessling, Roland, and Maarten Mous. (2004). Urban youth languages in Africa. Anthropological Linguistics 46(3):303-341.
*Kyratzis, Amy. (2004). Talk and interaction among children and the co-construction of peer groups and peer culture. Annual Review of Anthropology 33:625-649.
Lytra, Vasiliki. (2003). Nicknames and teasing: A case study of a linguistically and culturally mixed peer-group. In Jannis K. Androutsopoulos and Alexandra Georgakopoulou (eds.), Discourse constructions of youth identities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 47-73.
*Miller, Laura. (2004). Those naughty teenage girls: Japanese Kogals, slang, and media assessments. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 14(2):225-247.
*Møller, Janus, and Pia Quist. (2003). Research on youth and language in Denmark. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 159:45-55.
*Panelli, Ruth, Karen Nairn and Jaleh McCormack. (2002). “We make our own fun”: Reading the politics of youth with(in) community. Sociologia Ruralis 42(2):106-130.
Pujolar, Joan. (2001). Gender, heteroglossia and power: A sociolinguistic study of youth culture. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.
Stenström, Anna-Brita. (2003). It's not that I really care about him personally you know: The construction of gender identity in London teenage talk. In Jannis K. Androutsopoulos and Alexandra Georgakopoulou (eds.), Discourse constructions of youth identities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 93-117.
*Vermeij, Lotte. (2004). "Ya know what I’m sayin'?"The double meaning of language crossing among teenagers in the Netherlands. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 170:141-168.
Wulff, Helena. (1995). Introducing youth culture in its own right: The state of the art and new possibilities. In Vered Amit-Talai and Helena Wulff (eds.), Youth cultures: A cross-cultural perspective. London: Routledge. 1-18.