- Street language. A multilingual youth register in the Netherlands
- Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
- Volume | Issue number
- 26 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
This paper reports on an empirical study of street language, a multilingual youth register in the Netherlands. Nearly 300 secondary school students completed a questionnaire on their acquaintance with and use of street language. A subsample of students was also interviewed. Use of street language will be related to background information about the students, their Dutch language proficiency and contextual characteristics. The results of the study show that the use of street language is generally widespread, but that Surinamese students are more frequent users of street language than students from other ethnic groups. Although the questionnaire did not reveal significant differences between boys and girls, the interviews showed that boys tend to use this register more intensively than girls. Contrary to popular expectations, use of street language cannot be considered to be a symptom of weak language proficiency, as users and non-users turned out to be equally proficient. The examples of street language that were provided by the students showed a high degree of influence by the Surinamese Creole, Sranan.
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