Identity and Dialect Performance : A Study of Communities and Dialects book cover
1st Edition

Identity and Dialect Performance
A Study of Communities and Dialects

ISBN 9781138241787
Published November 8, 2017 by Routledge
370 Pages

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Book Description

Identity and Dialect Performance discusses the relationship between identity and dialects. It starts from the assumption that the use of dialect is not just a product of social and demographic factors, but can also be an intentional performance of identity. Dialect performance is related to identity construction and in a highly globalised world, the linguistic repertoire has increased rapidly, thereby changing our conventional assumptions about dialects and their usage.

The key outstanding feature of this particular book is that it spans an extensive range of communities and dialects; Italy, Hong Kong, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Japan, Germany, The Sudan, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Spain, US, UK, French Guiana, Colombia,and Libya.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Contributors


I. Dialects in Localised Delocalised Contexts

1. Nonstandard dialect and identity

2. The elusive dialect border

3. Dialect performances in super diverse communities: the case for ethnographic approaches to language variation

II. Nation-

States and Identity Construction in Relation to a Standard and a Dialect

4. The construction of linguistic borders and the rise of national identity in South Sudan: some insights into Juba Arabic (árabi júba)

5. From language to dialect and back: the case of Piedmontese

6. Darija and the construction of "Moroccanness"

7. ‘Sloppy speech is like sloppy dress’: folk attitudes towards non-standard British English


III. Contact, Variation, Performance and Metalinguistic Discourse

8.  From varieties in contact to the selection of linguistic features in multilingual settings

9. ‘You live in the United States, you speak English’, decían las maestras: how New Mexican Spanish speakers enact, ascribe and reject ethnic identities

10. The social meanings of Wolof and French: contact dialects, language ideology, and competing modernities in Senegal

11. The social value of variation in Tétouan and Ghomara (Northwestern Morocco)

12. New presentations of self in everyday life: Linguistic transgressions in England, Germany and Japan

13. Language and identity in Siwa Oasis: Indexing belonging, localness and authenticity in a small minority community


IV. The Media, Dialect Performance and Language Variation  

14.  Youtube Yinzers: Stancetaking and the performance of Pittsburghese

15. Performing Scottish identity on Screen: Language, Identity, and Humour in Scottish Television Comedy

16. Identity, Repertoire, and Performance: The Case of an Egyptian Poet

17. Ruination and amusement – dialect, youth and revolution in Naija 

18. Dialectal variation and identity in post-revolutionary Libyan media: The case of Dragunov (2014)

19.  The effect of TV and internal versus external contact on variation in Syrian rural child language


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Reem Bassiouney is Professor of Linguistics at The American University of Cairo. Her recent book publications include Functions of Code-Switching in Egypt (2006), Arabic Sociolinguistics (2008), Arabic and the Media (2010, editor), Arabic language and Linguistics (2012, co-editor), Language and Identity in Modern Egypt (2014), and The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Linguistics (forthcoming, co-editor).


"This far-reaching book offers a range of global perspectives on dialect and identity. At the heart of Identity and Dialect Performance: A Study of Communities and Dialects is a contemporary understanding of dialect as an intentional performance of identity. This postmodern perspective throws many conventional assumptions and "truths" around dialect and identity into question and places the discussion of dialect at the intersections of class, race, ethnicity, geography, gender, and religious belief within a globalized, mediatized, and networked world. […] Overall, this excellent and fascinating book draws on a wide range of sources to give the reader a breadth of knowledge in relation to current social-linguistics and dialectology. [...] These contemporary studies have the potential to influence the approach to teaching dialect to actors in a way that suits the contemporary pluralist setting."

Daron Oram, Senior Lecturer in Voice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, UK

"Identity and Dialect Performance affords an original vantage point from which the nuanced intersectionality and dynamism inherent in research on dialectology and sociolinguistics can be championed. The result is a compendium of studies on how dialect performance and linguistic choices are linked to identity construction through metalinguistic discourse in a comprehensive range of communities. This collection also celebrates methodological eclecticism through a wedding of qualitative and quantitative methods to yield maximum insights into manifestations of dialect performance and the process of identity construction."

- Samuel C. S. Tsang, Department of English, University of Oxford, UK

"An excellent book, it is indispensable for those researchers and students concerned with the role of dialect in the performance and negotiation of social meaning. Its publi-cation will surely prompt further equivalent research in other contexts."

- Robert M. McKenzie, Department of Humanities, Northumbria University, UK, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development