Urban Talk & Text

Urban Talk & Text investigates the sociolinguistic life of contemporary urban vernaculars, i.e. speech styles that have emerged in and are associated with multilingual urban neighbourhoods shaped by immigration and class stratification.

About the project

Urban Talk & Text zooms in on Oslo and surrounding regions, and is particularly concerned with the status of contemporary urban vernaculars today, the spread and development over time, and the ways these speech styles are portrayed, employed and perceived in various modalities, in conversations, in social and printed media, as well as in novels, TV series and films. 


The primary objective of Urban Talk & Text is to contribute new knowledge on the social life of contemporary urban speech styles.


Urban Talk & Text employs a multiple methodological approach, including Citizen Sociolinguistics, that is, engaging lay people in doing sociolinguistic research (e.g. European Association for Citizen Science; Svendsen 2018). Time frame: autumn 2020 - 2023.


Workshops and Events

Urban Talk & Text organised a workshop on Citizen Sociolinguistics the 3. and 4. of November 2020, see program and presentations can be found in the list of previous events at Multiling.

Media (selected)

Vårt Land 26.06.2020: "Kebabnorsk er norsk".

Vi.no 16.09.2020 "Vet du hva "wolla" betyr?" (vi.no, In Norwegian)

Collaboration and Networks

MultiLit Multilectal Literacy in Education RCN-financed project at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

The research group Language Variation and Change in Society and Education at the University of South-East Norway

The network MultiNord Research in multilingual urban spaces in the Nordic region 


Urban Speech is partly funded by the Research Council of Norway through its Centers of Excellence funding scheme, project number 223265.

Selected publications

  • Mesthrie, Raj, Toril Opsahl & Unn Røyneland (2021). Contesting Stereotypes: Language, Body and Belonging – Northern and Southern perspectives. In Blackwood & Røyneland (eds.) Spaces of Multilingualism. Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism. Routledge, 51-72. (Open access). 
  • Cutler, Cecelia & Unn Røyneland (eds.) (2018). Multilingual Youth Practices in Computer Mediated Communication. Cambridge University Press.
  • Opsahl, Toril (2018). Welcome to the city where dialects aren't pretty? On some developmental processes in urban multiethnic areas in Oslo, Norway, In Thorsten Burkard & Markus Hundt (ed.),  Sprachmischung - Mischsprachen. Vom Nutzen und Nachteil gegenseitiger Sprachbeeinflussung.  Peter Lang Publishing Group.  ISBN 978-3-631-74389-8.  kapittel.  s 83 - 98
  • Røyneland, Unn (2018). Virtually Norwegian: Negotiating language and identity on YouTube. In Multilingual Youth Practices in Computer Mediated Communication. Cambridge University Press, 145-168.
  • Svendsen, B. A. in  press. Contemporary urban speech styles. Norway. In P. Kerswill & H. Wiese (eds.), Urban contact dialects and language change: Insights from the global North and South. London: Routledge.
Tags: Multilingual language practices, Multilingual ideologies and language policies, Multilingual competence
Published Oct. 20, 2020 5:29 PM - Last modified Aug. 31, 2022 11:27 AM