The recontextualisation of Multicultural London English: Stylising the 'Roadman’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Though research on the multiethnolect spoken in London—Multicultural London English (MLE)—has described the social distribution of the variety, the stylistic potentials of MLE remain poorly understood. This article explores the enregisterment and subsequent ‘recontextualisation’ (Bauman & Briggs 1990) of MLE by analysing the linguistic and aesthetic components of a stylistic identity—the ‘roadman’. Specifically, I explore a corpus of TikTok videos to analyse the ways in which linguistic features characteristic of MLE (e.g. pronominal man, discourse-pragmatic styll, fronted /uː/) are co-opted and stylised in parodic performances of the roadman. I demonstrate that these linguistic features co-occur with tropes of personhood (e.g. participation in grime music, overt heterosexuality, a streetwear aesthetic) that are ideologically associated with a particular type of gendered, classed, and racialized identity. Concluding, I reflect on the status of the roadman persona with reference to contemporary patterns of language variation in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalLanguage in Society
Early online date11 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Apr 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • multicultural London English
  • personae
  • digital culture
  • TikTok
  • stylisation
  • performance

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