Chapter published in:The Sociolinguistics of Place and Belonging: Perspectives from the margins
Edited by Leonie Cornips and Vincent A. de Rooij
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 45] 2018
► pp. 239–260
Alternative place naming in the diverse margins of an ideologically mono-lingual society
This chapter presents an analysis of the sociolinguistic practice of giving places unofficial names, i.e. the practice of ‘alternative place naming’. The theoretical starting point is a discussion of ‘place’ as a topical challenge in sociolinguistics. While place as a holder of linguistic variation can be criticized and links between people, languages and places can be deconstructed as symbolic formations, strong ideologies of monolingualism and a place-people-language unity remain to dominate in society. The chapter studies this encounter between the national ideological construction of a mono-lingual society on the one hand and the practice based polylingual reality of young people on the other. Analyses of hip-hop and graffiti practices in Copenhagen, Denmark, suggest that alternative place naming may be a means of managing diversity in the context of a monolingualism ideology. Through the use of unofficial names, the young people create their own symbolic links between themselves, their places and languages.
Published online: 07 March 2018
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