Selfing and othering through categories of race, place, and language among minority youths in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

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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.


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