Wallah. Indexing the new locality

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

  • Astrid Ravn Skovse
This paper aims to add new, empirically based insights to the understanding of the dynamics by which linguistic features come to index locality. It does so through examining the indexicalities of the term wallah among adolescents living in the suburban, multi-ethnic Danish neighborhood Vollsmose. The paper shows how the term wallah, by being emblematic of the enregistered voices of somewhat competing, locally constructed characterological figures (Agha 2005), comes to serve as an index of highly specific kinds of locality. The data comes from an experimental mapping method tapping into informants’ sense of place, as well as from informants’ metapragmatic commentaries about wallah, and their use of the term in peer interaction. The paper concludes that, while not being a local feature in the traditional, dialectological sense – as it plays a central role in the linguistic practice of young people in a wide range of multi-ethnic settings in Scandinavia – wallah is nevertheless capable of indexing both local and supralocal sociolinguistic scales at once, reflecting the multiscalarity of the “new localities” of globalization (Blommaert 2010). By considering the possibility of features indexing a range of scales at once, the paper strives to treat such multiscalar places, and the linguistic practices associated with them, in their own right, rather than as exceptions to a sedentaristic rule.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date8 Aug 2016
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2016
EventInCoLaS PhD Seminar - KU, København, Denmark
Duration: 8 Aug 201610 Aug 2016


SeminarInCoLaS PhD Seminar

ID: 172138637