© 2018

Researching Urban Youth Language and Identity


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Rob Drummond
    Pages 1-19
  3. Rob Drummond
    Pages 21-45
  4. Rob Drummond
    Pages 47-58
  5. Rob Drummond
    Pages 59-101
  6. Rob Drummond
    Pages 103-189
  7. Rob Drummond
    Pages 191-227
  8. Rob Drummond
    Pages 229-254
  9. Rob Drummond
    Pages 255-268
  10. Rob Drummond
    Pages 269-272
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 273-286

About this book


This book examines how urban adolescents attending a non-mainstream learning centre in the UK use language and other semiotic practices to enact identities in their day-to-day lives. Combining variationist sociolinguistics and ethnographically-informed interactional sociolinguistics, this detailed and highly reflexive account provides rich descriptions and discussions of the linguistic processes at work in a previously underexplored research environment. In doing so, it reveals fresh insights into the changes taking place in urban British English, and into the difficulties of undertaking ethnographic, sociolinguistic research in a challenging context using a combination of methods and approaches. This interdisciplinary work will appeal to students and scholars from across the fields of sociolinguistics, ethnography, and education; as well as providing a valuable resource for teachers and trainees.


Learning Centres behavioural difficulties Pupil Referral Unit identity creation language and ethnicity semiotics sociolinguistic variation urban adolescent speech dialect linguistic ethnography grime Multicultural Urban British English Multicultural London English Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) Manchester youth language urban street style ethnography sociology of adolescence childhood

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Languages, Information and CommunicationManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Rob Drummond is Reader in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University and Head of Youth Language at the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies, UK. 

Bibliographic information


“This collaborative piece of research raises awareness of the value of nonstandard language and informs policymakers and commentators, which will hopefully help mitigate social bias and inequality. It also has implications for future studies, both empirically and theoretically, by offering an elaborate account of conducting fieldwork as well as combining different research traditions. This book is especially helpful to those who will conduct school-based ethnography.” (Gloria Yan Dou, Language in Society, Vol. 49 (3), 2020)

“Drummond’s writing will be accessible to a wide range of readers, including students and those with no background in sociolinguistic research. … Researching Urban Youth Language and Identity offers a thoughtful, reflective, and unusually honest account of doing fieldwork in a challenging context. It is engaging, highly readable, and will certainly be of use to anyone considering linguistic ethnography – of any type – in the future.” (Lucy Jones, Journal of Linguistics, June 14, 2019)