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Contemporary Urban Vernaculars in Rap, Literature and in Translation in Sweden and the UK

Smalley, N; (2015) Contemporary Urban Vernaculars in Rap, Literature and in Translation in Sweden and the UK. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis explores the use of contemporary urban vernaculars in creative writing in Sweden and the UK. Contemporary urban vernaculars can be defined as varieties of informal speech that have emerged in urban areas with high ethnic and linguistic diversity, and have come to index social affiliation and identity. The thesis examines the form these varieties take when represented in selected examples of creative writing including rap lyrics, poetry, prose, drama, and translation. It also looks at the way such varieties progress from one form to another, arguing that there is a translation effect in operation as spoken language is codified through oral and written forms both within, and between, languages. In order to do all this, the study progresses through a number of steps. First it describes the linguistic phenomena in question; identifying potential equivalences between occurrences of these phenomena in Swedish and English. It then investigates the ways these forms of spoken language have found their way into rap, and then literature, as well as exploring the connections and disparities between these creative verbal forms, both in terms of their formal qualities and their social ones. The main literary corpus consists of a small number of works in Swedish published from 2001 to 2008, including a play, poems, short stories and novels. In addition to this corpus, the thesis discusses UK novels from 2003 and 2011, and a range of lyrics by rappers in Sweden and the UK, spanning a period from the early 1990s to 2014. Subsequently, it looks at the way translators working between Swedish and English have dealt with contemporary urban vernaculars in some of these texts, as well as discussing translators’ treatment of ‘non-standard’ language more generally. The thesis concludes by reflecting on the social implications of representing and codifying contemporary urban vernaculars in the ways described.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Contemporary Urban Vernaculars in Rap, Literature and in Translation in Sweden and the UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Rap, Translation, Sweden, London, Grime, Contemporary Urban Vernaculars, Stockholm, Sociolinguistics, Authenticity, Identity, Slang
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468987
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