1st Edition

Urban Contact Dialects and Language Change
Insights from the Global North and South

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 31, 2022
ISBN 9781138596092
March 31, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
320 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This volume provides a systematic comparative treatment of urban contact dialects in the global North and South, examining the emergence and development of these dialects in major cities in sub-Saharan Africa and North-Western Europe.

The book’s focus on contemporary urban settings sheds light on the new language practices and mixed ways of speaking formed due to large-scale migration and the resulting intense contact that occurs between new and existing languages and dialects in these contexts. In comparing these new patterns of language variation and change between cities in both Africa and Europe, the volume allows for the unique opportunity to examine commonalities in linguistic phenomena, but also nuanced sociolinguistic differences in societally multilingual settings and those dominated by a strong monolingual habitus.

These comparisons are reinforced by a consistent chapter structure, with each chapter presenting the linguistic and social context of the region, information on available data (including corpora), sociolinguistic and structural findings, a discussion of the status of the urban contact dialect, and its stability over time. The discussion in the book is further enriched by short commentaries from researchers contributing different theoretical and geographical perspectives.

Taken as a whole, the book offers new insights into migration-based linguistic diversity and patterns of language variation and change, making this ideal reading for students and scholars in general linguistics and language structure, sociolinguistics, creole studies, diachronic linguistics, language acquisition, anthropological linguistics, language education, and discourse analysis.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Cameroon: Camfranglais, by Roland Kießling

Chapter 2: Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lingala ya Bayankee/Yanké, by Nico Nassenstein

Chapter 3: Senegal: Urban Wolof then and now, by Fiona Mc Laughlin

Chapter 4: South Africa: Tsotsitaal and urban vernacular forms of South African languages, by Ellen Hurst-Harosh

Chapter 5: Ghana: Ghanaian Student Pidgin English, by Dorothy Pokua Agyepong and Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

Chapter 6: Kenya: Sheng and Engsh, by Maarten Mous and Sandra Barasa

Chapter 7: Finland: Old Helsinki slang, by Heini Lehtonen and Heikki Paunonen


Chapter 8: Baby steps in decolonising linguistics: urban language research, by Miriam Meyerhoff

Chapter 9: Variation, complexity and the richness of urban contact dialects, by Joseph Salmons



Chapter 10: Tanzania: Lugha ya Mitaani, by Uta Reuster-Jahn and Roland Kießling

Chapter 11: Denmark: Danish urban contact dialects, by Pia Quist

Chapter 12: Norway: contemporary urban speech styles, by Bente Ailin Svendsen

Chapter 13: Urban contact dialects in the Netherlands, by Frans Hinskens, Khalid Mourigh and Pieter Muysken

Chapter 14: Sweden: Suburban Swedish, by Johan Gross and Sally Boyd

Chapter 15: France: youth vernaculars in Paris and surroundings, by Françoise Gadet

Chapter 16: United Kingdom: Multicultural London English, by Paul Kerswill, University of York

Chapter 17: Germany: Kiezdeutsch, by Yazgül Şimşek and Heike Wiese


Chapter 18: Ethnolects, multiethnolects and urban contact dialects: looking forward, looking back, looking around., by David Britain

Chapter 19: Migrants and urban contact sociolinguistics in Africa and Europe, by Rajend Mesthrie

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Paul Kerswill is Emeritus Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of York, UK. His research focuses particularly on dialect and language contact resulting from migration. With Jenny Cheshire, Sue Fox and Eivind Torgersen, he has published Contact, the Feature Pool and the Speech Community: The emergence of Multicultural London English (Journal of Sociolinguistics).

Heike Wiese is Professor of German in Multilingual Contexts and founder of the Centre "Language in Urban Diversity" at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. Her 2012 monograph on Kiezdeutsch as a new German dialect received national and international media attention, and raised awareness of urban contact dialects as a legitimate part of the linguistic landscape.