Multicultural London English

Ghetto speak?

Attitudes to some varieties of English can often be quite hostile, especially when regional, racial and cultural prejudices are part of the mix. A case in point is the development of what some linguists call Multicultural London English (or MLE), but what some journalists refer to as ‘Jafaican’.

Have a look at the article 'Word on the street in London' from the London Evening Standard to see what you make of the changing varieties of London English.

Article in the London Evening Standard (Also available for download as a pdf file below.)

How would you go about conducting your own linguistic investigation into new forms of English and their lexical and grammatical features? What would you do to measure people’s attitudes towards features of these varieties?

This project can be extended by gathering your own data across different generations and decades, charting the rapid development of varieties of English used by young people.

For more information on MLE, watch Paul Kerswill's TEDxEastEnd talk 'Who's an Eastender now?', or have a look at the Wikipedia entry for MLE.


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