Youth language

Rickard Jonsson, Henning Årman, Tommaso M. Milani

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


This chapter addresses research on youth language in linguistic ethnography. It explains the value of researching young people’s language for understanding language variation and language change, focussing specifically on work on urban youth styles in multilingual settings in contexts of migration. The chapter starts by defining the term ‘contemporary urban vernacular’ and arguing for its value in referring to youth language practices. It provides a historical overview of work on youth styles, identifying a shift from a more structuralist approach to the more practice-oriented perspective which has now become the dominant paradigm. It identifies critical issues and debates in the field, including problems associated with the labels used for youth language varieties, and the role of sociolinguistic researchers themselves in enregistering youth styles as indexical of Otherness particularly with relation to ethnicity and gender. Three current research areas are then discussed: the study of language ideology and the enregisterment of contemporary urban vernaculars; research which aims to move beyond bounded conceptualisations of language, developing the concept of everyday languaging; and research which locates youth styles in relation to global flows. Future directions identified include the potential for more work focussing on humour, and developing attention to space and mobilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Ethnography
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781317383338
ISBN (Print)9781138938168
StatePublished - Aug 30 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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