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Maybe it's a grime [t]ing: th-stopping among urban British youth

Drummond, Robert (2018) Maybe it's a grime [t]ing: th-stopping among urban British youth. Language in Society, 47 (2). pp. 171-196. ISSN 0047-4045

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Abstract

This article examines how voiceless th-stopping (e.g. ting for thing) is used by a group of adolescents in Manchester, UK. The data come from an ethnographic project into the speech of fourteen to sixteen year olds who have been excluded from mainstream education. Although th-stopping is often strongly associated with black varieties of English, multiple regression analysis finds ethnicity not to be a statistically significant factor in its production. Instead, conversational context and involvement in aspects of particular social practices—grime (rap) and dancehall music—emerge as potentially more relevant. Subsequent interactional analysis adds support to this interpretation, illustrating how the feature is being used more or less strategically (and more or less successfully) by individuals in this context in order to adopt particular stances, thereby enacting particular identities that are only tangentially related to ethnicity. I argue that use of th-stopping in this context indexes a particular street identity that is made more available through participation in grime especially. (th-stopping, youth language, identity, ethnography, grime, hip hop).

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