10. A corpus approach to discursive construction of hip-hop identity

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This chapter is an analysis of a 100,000-word corpus consisting of message-board postings on hip-hop websites. A discourse analysis of this corpus reveals three strategies employed by the posters to identify themselves as members of the hip-hop community in the otherwise anonymous setting of the internet: (1) defined openings and closings, (2) repeated use of slang and taboo terms, and (3) performance of verbal art. Each strategy is characterized by the codification of non-standard grammar and pronunciations characteristic of speech, as well as by the use of non-standard orthography. The purpose of the discourse is shown to be a performance of identity, whereby language is used and recognized as the discursive construction of one’s hip-hop identity.


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