'And what comes out may be a kind of screeching': The stylisation of chavspeak in contemporary Britain

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This paper discusses stylisations of chavspeak, the supposed language of the chav, a recently emergent and explicitly stereotyped figure that has been implicated in the demonization of the working class (Jones 2011). It argues that stylisations of chavspeak draw on a number of well-established stereotypes of non-standard Englishes in the British Isles, such that, rather than working as a representation of actual sociolinguistic innovation, chavspeak stylisations can primarily be seen as combinations of well-recognised stereotypes. The suggestion is made that, in terms of providing a representation of variation at the first order of indexicality, the enregisterment of chavspeak is highly fragmented a form from here and a form from there but in terms of ideological force intensifying sociolinguistic class stereotypes in accordance with the more general stereotype of the chav there is a coherence. The intended humour of the stylisations is discussed as a feature that reinforces this ideological force, and the inclusion of stereotyped features of black Englishes is discussed as a possible emergent tendency in language ideologies in the British Isles.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


  • enregisterment, Stereotyping, lang- uage ideology, stylisation, class, chav