London has long been considered by linguists as a motor of change in the English language in Britain. The investigators’ ESRC-funded studies from the early 90s to 2007 show that, while there is widespread ‘levelling’ in the south-east, leading to greater uniformity in accent and grammar, there are new, largely minority ethnic-based changes emerging in inner-city London. The present project investigates whether and how young children acquire these new features, how they are maintained or accentuated in adolescence, and whether they are maintained in adulthood. If they are, this will have consequences for the development of spoken English in Britain. The research asks: Are there different ‘ethnic’ Englishes in London, or is the new variety, dubbed ‘Multicultural London English’ (MLE), relatively uniform across ethnicities, including ‘Anglos’? Do Londoners change their speech across the lifespan? What features enter into MLE, and which don’t? Do Londoners detect any ethnic affiliation for the features? Are there rhythmic differences in the speech of Londoners? The project will record, mainly in pairs, at least 112 people from the northern inner city, ages ranging from 4 to 40 and the ethnic balance reflecting the local population. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses will be performed.



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The acquisition of multicultural London English : a case study

Author: Sue Fox Date: 08 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Regional accents thrive against the odds in Britain : it’s baffling up north as city accents spread

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Newspaper

Mind your slanguage

person involved: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Audio/video recording

Multiracial vernacular in London : age-grading or language change?

Author: Jenny Cheshire Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

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Investigating language and ethnicity in London : production and perception data

Author: Eivind Torgersen Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Dialect contact vs. second language acquisition : developments in the relative marker system

Author: Jenny Cheshire Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Age-grading and vowel systems in multicultural London English : evidence for regularity and incrementation in high-contact speech communities

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

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The temporal and lifespan trajectory of ‘multicultural London English’ as a clue to its origins and vitality

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

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New motors of change in an old world speech community : minority-led innovation in Britain

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Multicultural London English : the emergence, acquisition and diffusion of a new variety

Creator: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Seminar/workshop

Levelling and innovation in Britain : contact and isolation

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Investigating language and ethnicity in London : production and perception data

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Multiethnic varieties as a source of language change

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

A perceptual study of friendship networks in London

Author: Eivind Torgersen Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Perceiving ethnicity and place in multicultural London English

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Innovation in London is not equal to levelling in south-east England

Author: Jenny Cheshire Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Multicultural London English and linguistic innovation

Author: Paul Kerswill Date: 06 January 2010 Conference paper/presentation

Multicultural youth speech as the source of innovation in London English

Author: Jenny Cheshire Date: 17 December 2008 Conference paper/presentation

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Start date
30 September 2007
End date
31 December 2010
Grant holder
Professor Paul Kerswill
Co-applicants
Professor Jennifer Cheshire
Grant amount
£600,547.04
Grant reference
RES-062-23-0814
Discipline
Linguistics (General)
Linguistics
Grant type