Multicultural London English

by Emma Betty May 13, 2014 A

Here at Urban Hope we were recently visited by a masters student from the University of Bologna in Italy. She was a linguist and was specifically interested to find out whether the young people in our community spoke using ‘Multicultural London English’.

MLE as it is often referred to is a hybrid dialect spoken by many of the young people we know, it is often assumed to be a street language imported from Jamaica or America. This assumption is however, incorrect as the dialect draws on a wide range of languages and cultures and forms words, phrases and phonetics.

I haven’t found a great deal of study material addressing MLE, however this TED talk provides a helpful introduction and positions it within the social trends of London.

I am particularly interested in MLE as it provides a tangible example of the processes of cultural hybridity that are present in globalised urban landscapes. It represents a creative negotiation of cross cultural identity formation that happens naturally among young people.