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Language and football - use of different varieties of English

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I sometimes play walking football with two groups in Bristol and each of these groups has a WhatsApp group.  One of the group has a strong representations of people who came to Bristol from Jamaica or who are of Jamaican heritage.  They mostly speak and write Standard British English (often with a Bristol accent) but there is some use of Jamaican English when two or more people of that heritage or origin are speaking in small groups, presumably as a way of asserting solidarity and a shared identity.

Until yesterday, all messages on WhatsApp had been in Standard British English but fury about the Lewis Hamilton result in F1 led to several messages in Jamaican English.  There was a feeling that he had been cheated because of his race and perhaps this was why Jamaican English seemed the most appropriate variety to express a group feeling.

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Article on slang

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Sunday, 31 Mar 2019, 19:53

This article on multi-ethnic London English (MLE) https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/mar/29/ching-wap-ox-slang-interpreters-decipher-texts-for-court-evidence links to several courses I teach.

It shows how language and sub cultures interrelate and how groups might want to include and exclude certain kinds of people (there is a reference to "a “cryptolect” – a language meant to hide things".  A link is made near the end of the article with Polari, which is studied in Exploring Languages and Cultures (L161).

The comment by a young "drill producer" that "If it was a young person like me translating it would be more accurate. You want to understand the context" could almost be the motto for understanding language and language use and context is certainly key.

It also seems that the variety is influential outside London and is even known in East Yorkshire so the language seems to be connected to a culture that transcends geographical boundaries.

It was also interesting to read the origin of words (mainly Caribbean but with some Arabic and Polish) and this presumably reflects some of the origins of some users.

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