Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Meredith Landman

Reader 2

Thomas Kim


Some youth in London speak a non-standard variety of English whose lexical items are difficult for non-speakers to understand. This study collected naturally produced speech samples from students of various ethnicities and class backgrounds who spoke this dialect. It also polled students about their identity, as well as about their use of particular slang words. The recordings were glossed to determine the kind of slang used, as well which populations were more or less likely to use slang. The surveys were analyzed to determine relevant background characteristics of those who used slang versus those who did not. This study concludes that one’s geographic background, as well as one’s class and peer group, impact the variety of English spoken. The idea of language as a method of counter culture is advanced, claiming that speakers are using this dialect as a way to signify resistance against the highly rigid class systems of the U.K.