Selfing and othering through categories of race, place, and language among minority youths in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
This is the first study of processes of selfing and othering by speakers of a non-standard variety of Dutch. The group studied consists of young men in the Dutch city of Rotterdam who self-identify as Surinamese while having only very limited proficiency in what is considered their heritage language, Sranan. Applying a synthesis of principles and concepts from various semiotic approaches to the study of identification processes (Baumann 2004, Bucholtz & Hall 2005, Gal & Irvine 1995), it is shown that the youngsters in this study interweave categories of language, race, and place in assembling constantly changing multi-leveled identities that help to construct self and other. We will analyze the indexical workings of these interwoven categories and show how the constantly re-defined segmenting of these categories enables speakers to authenticate or denaturalize groups and individuals in changing discursive contexts.