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Crossing of a different kind

  • Ben Rampton (a1), Constadina Charalambous (a2) and Panayiota Charalambous (a1)


This study of language crossing moves away from the scenes of multi-ethnic heteroglossia that have dominated the research, and turns instead to a setting affected by major conflict where the language of the traditional enemy has been introduced to secondary schools as part of a reconciliation initiative. This generates a radically different view of crossing and the environment in which it emerges: schooling counts more than popular culture; inter-generational links matter as much as peer relations; and ‘technical redoing’ is a more important key for crossing than ‘make believe’, ‘contests’, or ‘ceremonials’ (Goffman 1974). With a very different profile of this kind, crossing retains and extends its significance, pointing to a sociolinguistic practice that also occurs in official sites struggling with a legacy of violence and acute division. (Crossing, conflict legacy, language learning, classrooms, keying)*

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Ben Rampton, King's College London, School of Education, Communication & Society, Waterloo Road, London SE1 9NH,


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Although the shortcomings are our own, we are very grateful for some very helpful feedback on this article from Alexandra Georgakopoulou, from Jenny Cheshire and Judith Irvine in the editorial team, and from two anonymous reviewers. We are also very indebted indeed to the teachers and students with whom we conducted the fieldwork. An earlier and much longer draft of this work was posted in Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies 240 (



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Crossing of a different kind

  • Ben Rampton (a1), Constadina Charalambous (a2) and Panayiota Charalambous (a1)


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