Identity and Dialect Performance: A Study of Communities and Dialects, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Identity and Dialect Performance

A Study of Communities and Dialects, 1st Edition

Edited by Reem Bassiouney


370 pages

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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.


"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

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


About the Editor

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).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Language and Identity

Routledge Studies in Language and Identity (RSLI) series aims to examine the intricate relation between language and identity from different perspectives. The series straddles fields such as sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, applied linguistics, historical linguistics and linguistic anthropology. It aims to study identity and language by utilizing novel methods of analysis as well as ground breaking theoretical approaches.

The books in this series proceed from the standpoint that language constitutes the weft and warp of social processes and practices, and that it cannot be studied in isolation from social phenomena. They shed light on the role of language in identity construction, in relation to a broad variety of themes and issues, including language variation and change, code-switching, bilingualism, translanguaging, language in the diaspora, minority languages, pidgins and creoles, language and globalization, language and the media, language in political discourse, language and gender, language and education, language policies and ideologies, and language and literature.

The series focuses on the contemporary world, but historical issues that pertain to identity construction are also covered. Within this general framework, the series offers academic case studies that not only address scholars in the field of linguistics, but are also of interest to researchers in political science, anthropology, sociology, media and history.

Editorial Board

Rizwan Ahmad Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics, Qatar University

Amira Agameya Visiting Professor and Chair of the Department of Applied Linguistics, the American University in Cairo 

Jannis Androutsopoulos Professor of German and Media Linguistics, University of Hamburg

Ana De Fina Professor, Italian Language & Linguistics, Georgetown University 

Ana Deumert Associate Professor, University of Cape Town

 John Edwards Senior Research Professor, St Francis Xavier University, Adjunct Professor (Graduate Studies), Dalhousie University

Ahmed Ech-Charfi Professor, Faculty of Education, Mohammed V University of Rabat

Mohssen Esseesy Associate Professor of Arabic Linguistics, George Washington University

Alexandra Georgakopoulou Professor of Discourse Analysis & Sociolinguistics, King’s College London

Barbara Johnstone Professor of English and Linguistics, Carnegie Mellon University

Amal Marogy Affiliated Researcher in Neo-Aramaic Studies, University of Cambridge

Tommaso Milani Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of the Witwatersrand

Catherine Miller Director of Research, CNRS

Heikki Palva Professor Emeritus, University of Helsinki

Gillian Ramchand Professor, Institute for Language and Culture, University of Tromsø

Cristina Sanz Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University

Kassim Shaaban Professor of English and Linguistics, American University in Beirut

Munther A Younes Senior Lecturer, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University

Keith Walters Professor of Applied Linguistics, Portland State University

Ruth Wodak Emerita Distinguished Professor, Lancaster University


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