YOUTH’S LANGUAGE BATTLE: HURTING OR JOKING
Published: 25 Aug 2014
Abstract: Nowadays, young people’s speech and precisely the way they tease each other is more often interpreted by outside observers as an expression of violence and a lack of respect. Within the peers’ group, young people make a great difference between the personal insult and the “jibe” also called ritual insult. That linguistic practice is often considered by the teenagers as a social game between friends without any purpose of being harmful to somebody. The aim of this study1 is to focus on the real functions of this activity inside the peers’ group. It seems that the differences of perception or interpretation are largely linked with the fact that the subject belongs to the in-group or to the out-group. Teasing could be the translation of an adolescent peer system with its own rules and values. Young people (between 17 and 21 years old), living in a Parisian sensitive urban area were interviewed. All of them are schooling and belong to the second generation of French speaking immigration. A qualitative analysis was realized.
Keywords: language, young people, jibe, context, identity, peers’ group
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