FCS 194H1F

Urban Youth Languages of the World


L. A. Isiaka


What are youth languages? How do they evolve, and what constitute their forms and functions? What commonalities and differences there are – across space, time, and social domains? In this course, we will survey a range of youth languages that have emerged in African, North American, and European contexts, looking at their structural (linguistic) features and social lives. Discussions and presentations will focus on the dimensions of language mixing, translanguaging, lexical innovation, and metrolanguages in contemporary youth varieties. We will reflect on their globality, spread and implications for language change.

Required texts:

Nassenstein, Nico and Hollington, Andrea (eds.). 2015. Youth Language Practices in Africa and Beyond, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter Mouton; Hurst-Harosh, Ellen and Fridah, K. Erastus (eds.). 2018. African Youth Languages: New Media, Performing Arts  and  Sociolinguistic Development, Cham: Palgrave.

    Assignments and evaluation:

    Presentations 35%; homework assignments 40% (2 x 20%); participation in in-class discussions and online forums (15%); overall assessment 10%.