'A place between places': Language and identities in a border town

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Abstract

This article investigates variation in the use of glottalling and glottalization of the voiceless stops (p t k) in an urban variety of British English. Middlesbrough, the locality in question, lies on a regional border in the North of England and has been subject to repeated redrawing of local administrative boundaries and shifting orientations in terms of popular culture. Linguistic trends that converge with North Eastern varieties and diverge from those associated with Yorkshire are correlated with attitudinal information and informants' shifting sense of the identity of the area. Findings reveal socially conditioned variation in perceptions of language and community identity that have clear connections with both the changing sociogeographic status of the urban center and with the linguistic trends uncovered. Results emerging from the attitudinal data offer insight into both the indexical function of the linguistic forms of interest and the motivation for the change in progress in the voiceless stops. (Language variation, regional identity, shifting orientation, North East England).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-604
Number of pages26
JournalLanguage in Society
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007

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