Crossing: Language and Ethnicity among Adolescents, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover


Language and Ethnicity among Adolescents, 3rd Edition

By Ben Rampton


366 pages

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Focusing on urban youth culture and language crossing, this foundational volume by Ben Rampton has played a pivotal role in the shaping of language and ethnic identity as a domain of study. It focuses on language crossing - the use of Panjabi by adolescents of African-Caribbean and Anglo descent, the use of Creole by adolescents with Panjabi and Anglo backgrounds, and the use of stylized Indian English. Crossing’s central question is: how far and in what ways do these intricate processes of language sharing and exchange help to overcome race stratification and contribute to a new sense of mixed youth, class and neighbourhood community?

Ben Rampton produces detailed ethnographic and interactional analyses of spontaneous speech data, and integrates the discussion of particular incidents with theories of discourse, code-switching, social movements, resistance and ritual drawn from sociolinguistics, sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.

Now a Routledge Linguistics Classic with a new preface which sets the work in its current context, this book remains key reading for all those working in the areas of applied linguistics, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology.


"The importance of this book for sociolinguistics cannot be overestimated."

C. Kramsch, 1998, Review, Language and Education

"Rampton’s book Crossing put the sociolinguistic study of style, and of interethnic styling in particular, on a new footing. […] The distinctiveness of Rampton’s work lies in its ethnographic depth, theoretical openness and empirical specificity."

N. Coupland, 2007, Review, Style

"Ben Rampton has produced a very important study, not only on language and ethnicity among adolescents… but on a range of sociolinguistic topics."

J. Blommaert, 1998, Review, Journal of Sociolinguistics

"A research monograph which manages to be empirically thorough, methodologically rigorous, and of practical and theoretical interest."

M. Heller, 1997, Review, International Journal of Bilingualism

Table of Contents


Transcription Symbols and Conventions

Preface to the Routledge Linguistics Classics Edition

Part I: Introductory


Local Reports of Language Crossing

Part II: Interaction with Adults: Contesting Stratification

Stylised Asian English (i)

Panjabi (i)

Creole (i)

Part III: Interaction with Peers: Negotiating Solidarity

Stylised Asian English (ii)

Panjabi (ii)

Creole (ii)

Part IV: Crossing and Performance Art

Creole and SAE (iii)

Panjabi (iii)

Part V: Conclusions

Crossing and the Sociolinguistics of Language Contact

Crossing, Discourse and Ideology

Educational Discourses on Language

Appendix I

Appendix II




Numbered extracts, settings and main participants

About the Author

Ben Rampton is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Sociolinguistics at King’s College London. He is author of Language and Late Modernity: Interaction in an Urban School (2006), co-author of Researching Language: Issues of Power and Method (Routledge, 1992), and co-editor of The Language, Ethnicity and Race Reader (Routledge, 2003) and Language and Superdiversity (Routledge, 2016).

About the Series

Routledge Linguistics Classics

Routledge Linguistics Classics brings together key seminal books from the rich heritage of Routledge linguistics publishing. Each book is reissued with the original text, and also includes an additional new chapter, foreword or afterword to situate these titles in current scholarship. These titles have been deemed classics by leading academics and are essential reading for students and all who need to keep up to date with the field of linguistics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics