Youth, language and urban public space
Where geography and linguistics meet
This paper presents an interdisciplinary study on the interface between young people, their language use, group belonging and urban space. Relevant literature from the fields of sociolinguistics and urban geography is reviewed and integrated, focusing on language, identity and place. The outcomes are based on on-site interviews and focus group meetings that were used to explore and explain the in-depth meanings of our assumption: language is a situated practice. Participants reported to adjust their language use to place ‘automatically’, indicating the awareness of unwritten norms. Furthermore, being in or out of place and adjustment of language use is merely a function of the presence of other people. It is concluded that the space where young people find themselves is crucial for physical and social distance between the self and others and, therefore, the way language is used.
Keywords: youth, identity, sociolinguistics, urban public space, group belonging
Published online: 10 August 2018
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van Aalst, Irina & Jelle Brands
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