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Language variety and communicative style as local and subcultural identity in a South Yorkshire coalmining community

Cave, Andrew (2001) Language variety and communicative style as local and subcultural identity in a South Yorkshire coalmining community. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The study has two broad objectives. The first is to describe the regional and sociooccupational language varieties and communicative styles used locally through the collection of empirical data. The second is to explore the extent to which the various components of such language function as markers of social identity for certain individuals. It is an ethnographic, synchronic study looking at the complex link between language and identity, and is cross-disciplinary, drawing on the knowledge already generated via research in sociolinguistics, anthropology and folklore. It is argued that such an eclectic approach will provide profitable insights and reveal new possibilities, both in the description of regional and occupational language varieties and in their role of local identity construction. The concept of someone having a particular social identity or 'self in this study refers not only to geographical, territorially-based group affiliations, but to locally-based, social categories. The study group comprised men and women from the village of Royston and neighbouring communities in South Yorkshire, who have, until recently, relied on coalmining as a way of life and as their major source of income. Undoubtedly, as with all people, each individual is affiliated to different, overlapping and sometimes conflicting social groups, which they can enter and leave easily. Subjective feelings of identification to a geographical region or a social group are not necessarily expressed via language behaviour. This study however, argues that, among many people still living in communities such as Royston, Grimethorpe and Darfield in South Yorkshire, the coalmining industry has been a significant factor in their lives, and continues to be an important retrospective resource, which in certain contexts, can be manipulated symbolically for the display of a distinctive local social identity. The study emphasises that language is not simply an emblem of membership to a preexisting group, but rather these affiliations and boundaries are constituted, maintained and negotiated through the process of interaction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Other academic unit: National Centre for English Cultural Tradition
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.442231
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 26 May 2016 10:50
Last Modified: 26 May 2016 10:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12849

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