Mobility, Social Practices and Regional Dialect among Danish Youth

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentation - typerForedrag og mundtlige bidrag

Kristine Køhler Mortensen - Oplægsholder

Pia Quist - Oplægsholder

Camilla Boesen Madsen - Oplægsholder

One of the key questions in debates on linguistic standardization in Denmark is whether linguistic variants spread from the national center of Copenhagen (Coupland & Kristiansen 2011) or rather from multiple regional centers throughout the country (Kerswill 2003, Ejskjær 1964). In this paper, we wish to contribute to this debate while nuancing the perspectives on social meaning linked to regional dialect and mobility. Based on an elaborate 10-months ethnographic study of youth and their families in the Hirtshals area of Northern Jutland, we investigate how regional dialect of Northern Jutland works as the largely unmarked norm among 15-16 year-olds. Whereas the local dialect, ‘Vendelbomål’, is entirely depleted among these teenagers, regional linguistic resources are deployed every day. In this local context too elaborate usage of standard Danish is frowned upon by the youth and pointed out as uncool attempts to sound ‘elite’. We discuss whether this apparent strong status of regional dialect among teenagers may be connected to the demographic history of the region, in particular mobility patterns connected to the largest, and financially dominant, regional city of Aalborg. Recent qualitative studies point to an interesting static level of variation throughout the past hundred years in Aalborg (Pedersen forthc.). As a possible explanation for this linguistic situation, Pedersen points to the demographic past of the city in which the main social and linguistic influences have derived from destinations of geographical proximity allowing for a developmental process of regionally bound variation less influenced by the capital city of Copenhagen. Moreover, the paper addresses preliminary findings of complex patterns in the distribution of regional features across the social ecology of the youth. Although all participants of this study speak regional dialect to some extent, ethnographic observation revealed specific cliques to perform a higher level of regional variation than others. In contrast to other studies of youth and dialect (Schøning & Pedersen 2007, Monka 2013) the speakers with a high level of regional dialect in Hirtshals are not characterized by immobility and local orientation. Instead, speakers who use a high degree of regional dialect show a variety of mobility patterns and social practices that are linked to both coolness and active lifestyle as well as local, regional, and international orientation. We conclude by reflecting upon which new questions these nuanced uses of regional dialect in Hirtshals may pose in the debate on dialect levelling and standardization processes.
6 jun. 2017

Begivenhed (Konference)

TitelICLaVE 9
AfholdelsesstedUniversidad de Málaga

ID: 179356913