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The concept of identity in the East Midlands of England: Investigating feelings of identity in East Midlands adolescents

  • Natalie Braber

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When considering dialectal variation in the UK, linguists have frequently considered the North/South divide and the linguistic markers separating the two regions (see for example Trudgill, 1999; Wells, 1986). But it has been noted that this is not a straightforward division (e.g. Beal, 2008; Goodey, Gold, Duffett & Spencer, 1971; Montgomery, 2007; Wales, 2002). There are clear stereotypes for the North and South – but how do areas like the East Midlands fit into the picture? The boundaries between North and South are defined in different ways. Beal's linguistic North does not include the East Midlands (Beal, 2008: 124–5), neither does Wales’ (2002: 48). Trudgill states that in traditional dialectology the East Midlands area falls under ‘Central’ dialects, which come under the ‘Southern’ branch, but in modern dialectology it falls in the ‘North’. Hughes, Trudgill & Watt (2005: 70) include a map which has the East Midlands in the North. Linguistically, the question has been raised whether there is a clear North/South boundary (see for example Upton (2012), where it is proposed that it is a transition zone). This paper revisits this question from the point of view of young people living in the East Midlands, to examine their sense of identity and whether this cultural divide is salient to them.

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The concept of identity in the East Midlands of England: Investigating feelings of identity in East Midlands adolescents

  • Natalie Braber

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