Haagse Harry, a Dutch chav from The Hague?
The enregisterment of similar social personas in different speech communities
This paper presents two remarkably similar characterological figures who are stereotyped embodiments of working-class personas: Haagse Harry in The Hague and chavs in England. The two figures have similar attires, class positions, attitudes, and associated attributes. We compare and contextualize the indexical links between their linguistic features and their social characteristics. Firstly, while chavs can be both men and women, the fictional persona Haagse Harry represents an all-male lower-working-class subculture. Secondly, while Haagse Harry consistently speaks Broad Haags, the language of chavs is not rooted in any single regional dialect but invariably indexes working-class features. Thirdly, Haagse Harry, and his sociolect, has a higher social status compared to the language and persona of chavs, who embody British class prejudice. We demonstrate that the repertoire of linguistic features deployed in the stylisation of characterological figures is strongly dependent on patterns of variation and ideas that are prevalent in the local speech community.
- 2.The characterological figures: Chavs and Haagse Harry
- 2.2Haagse Harry
- 3.The linguistic registers of chavs and Haagse Harry
- 4.Differences in the stylisations of chavs and Haagse Harry
- 4.1Gender differences
- 4.2Coherence of linguistic repertoire
- 4.3Status and prestige
Published online: 21 December 2021
Altendorf, U., & Watt, D.
BBC News Online
(2020) TikTok named as the most downloaded app of 2020. BBC 10 August 2020 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58155103 (accessed 19 October 2021).
Biressi, A., & Nunn, H.
(2021a) Language and Identity in the Cockney Diaspora: A Sociophonetic and Variationist Study. PhD dissertation, University of Essex.
(2020) TikTok videos mocking poor British people as “chavs” have racked up millions of views and hundreds of thousands of followers. Business Insider 27 February 2020 https://www.businessinsider.com.au/tiktok-popular-videos-mock-working-class-chavs-2020-2 (accessed 9 October 2020).
Coupland, N., & Bishop, H.
(2012) Cheryl: I’m proud to be Queen of Chavs. The Sun 27 MY 2020 https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/649386/cheryl-im-proud-to-be-queen-of-chavs/ (accessed 22 July 2020).
Den Haag in Cijfers
https://denhaag.incijfers.nl (accessed 25 January 2021).
Di Martino, E.
van Gaalen, A.
van Gaalen, A., & van den Mosselaar, F.
(2017) Verkeersbord in het Haags krijgt lachers op de hand. AD Online 14 July 2017 https://www.ad.nl/den-haag/verkeersbord-in-het-haags-krijgt-lachers-op-de-hand~ab39c864/ (accessed 29 July 2021).
Hayward, K., & Yar, M.
(2012) A “something-for-nothing” culture? YouGov 25 June 2012 https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2012/06/25/something-nothing-culture (accessed 9 October 2020).
(2019) “Beyond the Offline”: Social Media and the Social Meaning of Variation in East London. PhD dissertation, Queen Mary, University of London.
(2005) The poor are being robbed in Labour’s class war. The Telegraph 8 December 2005 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3621585/The-poor-are-being-robbed-in-Labours-class-war.html (accessed 18 August 2020).
Johnstone, B., Andrus, J., & Danielson, A. E.
Johnstone, B., & Baumgardt, D.
MacDonald, R., Shildrick, T., & Furlong, A.
McCulloch, K., Stewart, A., & Lovegreen, N.
(2017) British social attitudes reveals Britain wants less nanny state, more attentive parent. https://www.natcen.ac.uk/news-media/press-releases/2017/june/british-social-attitudes-reveals-britain-wants-less-nanny-state,-more-attentive-parent/ (accessed 9 October 2020).
(2017) Verkeersbord in plat Haags verwijderd na klachten 21 July 2017 https://www.omroepwest.nl/nieuws/3494083/Verkeersbord-in-plat-Haags-verwijderd-na-klachten (accessed 29 July 2021).
Oxford English Dictionary
Online, The . www.oed.com
(2020) The ‘chav’ caricature has made a comeback on TikTok. Vice 23 April 2020 https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/939p45/chav-caricature-comeback-tiktok-2020 (accessed 9 October 2020).
Timmerman, J. H.
(2018) “Ken mèn ’t rotte hoe of jenut spelt!!” Een vergelijking van de orthografische diepte van het Standaardnederlands en het Haagse stadsdialect. BA thesis Linguistics, University of Leiden.
Tyler, I., & Bennett, B.
Wallace, M., & Spanner, C.