Journal article by Cecilia Cutler in Language and Linguistics Compass, volume 9, issue 6, 2015.
Adolescence is a time when many young people begin experimenting with and ‘trying on’ different identities. This process manifests itself in the linguistic choices that they make as they try to signal alignments with particular ethnic groups, subcultures, or lifestyles. The phenomenon of European American or ‘White’ youth who style their speech using features of African American English (AAE) and Hip Hop Nation Language (HHNL) to project their orientation to Hip Hop culture illustrates how this process may involve crossing ethnolinguistic boundaries. This article reviews the dynamics of this phenomenon, how it intersects with sociolinguistic theories of style, and the implications of incorporating discussions about language variation, AAE, and Hip Hop in urban, ethnic minority schools.