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Multiethnolect is a term originally coined by Clyne (2000)[1] and Quist (2000).[2] It is used by a number of linguists to define an emerging, distinct variety of language found in young, working-class urban neighbourhoods, across Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain.[3] Multiethnolects appear to be less homogeneous than either dialects or sociolects and are assumed to be context-bound and transient, to the extent that they are ‘youth languages'.[3] Wiese (2006) uses the term German Kiezdeutsch, meaning ‘neighbourhood German’, to refer to multiethnic youth language in Germany.[4] Cheshire et al. (2011) claim that the term Jafaican, which refers to youth language in multiethnic parts of London, a name that has close associations with hip-hop, is a type of multiethnolect.[3] Kotsinas (1988) uses the term rinkebysvenska (named after one such district, Rinkeby) to refer to the Swedish characteristics of multiethnolects that are spoken in districts of Stockholm.[5] Multientholects are considered to be a type of Labovian "vernacular" that many older people claim that young people in London today sound as if they are "talking black".[3]

The reasons for the emergence of European multiethnolects at this point in history is presumably linked to specific types of community formation in urban areas which have seen very large-scale immigration from developing countries. People of different language backgrounds have settled in already quite underprivileged neighbourhoods, and economic deprivation has led to the maintenance of close kin and neighbourhood ties. Castells (2000) writes of prosperous metropolises containing communities such as these: ‘It is this distinctive feature of being globally connected and locally disconnected, physically and socially, that makes mega-cities a new urban form’.[3]

Cheshire, Nortier, and Adger state that 'a defining characteristic is that [multiethnolects] are used by (usually monolingual) young people from non-immigrant backgrounds as well as by their bilingual peers'.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Clyne, Michael (2000). "Lingua franca and ethnolects in Europe and beyond". Sociolinguistica. 14: 83–89. doi:10.1515/9783110245196.83.
  2. ^ Quist, P. (2000). Ny københavnsk 'multietnolekt'. Om sprogbrug blandt unge i sprogligt og kulturelt heterogene miljøer. [New Copenhagen Multiethnolect. Language Use among Young Young Speakers in linguistically and culturally heterogeneous neighborhoods]. Danske Talesprog, (1), 143-211.
  3. ^ a b c d e Cheshire, Jenny; Kerswill, Paul; Fox, Sue; Torgersen, Eivind (2011). "Contact, the feature pool and the speech community: The emergence of Multicultural London English" (PDF). Journal of Sociolinguistics. 15 (2): 151–196. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9841.2011.00478.x.
  4. ^ Weise, Heiki (2006). ""Ich mach dich Messer": Grammatische Produktivität in Kiez-Sprache". Linguistische Berichte. 207: 245–273.
  5. ^ Kotsinas, Ulla‐Britt (1088). "Immigrant children's Swedish—A new variety?". Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development. 9 (1–2): 129–140. doi:10.1080/01434632.1988.9994324.
  6. ^ Cheshire, Jenny; Nortier, Jacomine; Adger, David (2015). "Emerging multiethnolects in Europe" (PDF). Queen Mary's Occasional Papers Advancing Linguistics. 33: 1–27.