Research Seminars

Research seminars

From cool to bad and back again: Multicultural London English and the media 2005–2018

Paul Kerswill (University of York)

31st January 2018

My talk deals with the way 'Multicultural London English' has been talked about in the British print and online media, from its origins as 'Jafaican' (a media invention) through to a variety of English that is now common currency in the media. I will discuss the different discourses associated with MLE, from an interesting, cool new variety, through a variety that was vilified by politicians and journalists as 'pushing out' the authentic dialect of Cockney, while at the same time leading to educational disadvantage. MLE was seen as the language of the 2011 London riots, three years  later also being equated with the speech of the violent jihadist Mohammed Emwazi (aka Jihadi John). Concurrently, it has emerged as the language of London-based grime, and has spread from there to be the language of choice for grime across the country.