Girls and guys, ghetto and bougie: Metapragmatics, ideology and the management of social identities

  • Brown D
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Abstract

This case study explores the metapragmatic awareness of a young, academically successful, African American, female speaker. It describes some of the identities and orientations that the speaker performs through language and the perceived role of linguistic style in such performances. This study suggests that these linguistic performances are a complex negotiation of ethnicity, gender and class that both draw from and resist the macrosocial indexing of social categories. Further, the understood role of language in the social negotiations of the speaker serves as an illustration of the relationship among metapragmatics, ideology and identity and also highlights the dynamism of identity management as individuals position themselves in allegiance with, or opposition to, various groups that populate their social landscape.

Author-supplied keywords

  • African American English
  • Language style
  • Metalanguage
  • Metapragmatic awareness
  • Youth culture

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Authors

  • David West Brown

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