Counterurbanisation, demographic churn and the erosion of traditional dialect in southern England

Britain, David (2 November 2018). Counterurbanisation, demographic churn and the erosion of traditional dialect in southern England (Unpublished). In: Conference on Urban Language Research: Variation - Contact – Perception. Graz, Österreich. 31.10.2018-03.11.2018.

In the developed and the developing world alike, we have become used to urbanisation as a demographic and socio-economic process. In the search for a better job, a better life, a better future, hundreds of millions of people around the world have left the countryside for the city. Urbanisation has been the dominant demographic trend of at least the past three or four hundred years. However, much more recently, over the past half century or so, many northern European and North American capitalist economies have been witnessing the reverse trend – counterurbanisation, with the largest cities shedding population in favour of (often relatively remote) rural areas. These migratory movements have gone hand in hand with the expansion of a range of other rather mundane mobilities that have also especially affected rural areas, such as commuting. In my talk, I examine some of the linguistic consequences of counterurbanisation and other mundane mobilities for rural areas that are experiencing rapidly expanding populations. Two areas especially affected both by counterurbanisation and by the linguistic consequences of it are the South-West of England and East Anglia in Eastern England. I report some recent research on the South-West, before focussing on a variationist examination of language change in a number of rural and urban locations in East Anglia. In both the South-West and East Anglia, traditional dialect features have experienced considerably levelling as a result of counterurbanisation and other localised mobilities. I argue that these demographic developments force us firstly to take more seriously the fact that mobilities are socially differentiated, secondly to deconstruct established models of the geographical spread of linguistic innovations, and finally to question some of the urbanist assumptions about language variation and change that have emerged in sociolinguistics over the past half-century.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures > Modern English Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Britain, David

Subjects:

400 Language
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages

Language:

English

Submitter:

Leona Josefine Irmgard Goop

Date Deposited:

23 Jan 2019 11:48

Last Modified:

23 Jan 2019 11:48

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/124022

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