Back to listing

Dineke Schokkin presents on Interlocutor-based style-shifting and identity construction in ‘ethnolect’ Dutch, 8 May 2015

Australian National University, Wellsprings

Date: 8 May 2015

Dineke Schokkin recently reported her findings on 'ethnolect' Dutch at a seminar in Canberra.

There is an increasing interest within the wider linguistic community for language variation related to social structure in small, non-WEIRD speech communities and languages. For various reasons, using classic variationist sociolinguistic methods alone may not always be the most optimal way to go for approaching this type of variability. In addition, these methods have sometimes been criticized for being too essentialist in nature, taking social categories such as gender, age or social class as given and a priori, thereby downplaying speaker agency.

In this presentation I will revisit a study that focuses on ‘ethnolectal’ variation in conversations between adolescents of Dutch, Moroccan and Turkish background living in Amsterdam. Specific uses of the discourse particle toch can be associated with a register or style also dubbed ‘Moroccan-flavored Dutch’ (MFD). How exactly the particle is used, however, depends on the local discourse-specific setting. Speakers can choose to use elements from MFD to align or disalign with their interlocutor, or specific groups in society. The study shows that combining quantitative and qualitative methods can be used to complement each other in order to get an insight into the fluidity and dynamicity of language change, an approach that can perhaps be extrapolated to research in small speech communities.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University