WP240 Crossing of a different kind

Rampton, Charalambous & Charalambous


Is crossing is now an outdated concept, losing its distinctiveness in the ?trans-super-poly-metro movement??? To answer this question, this paper moves away from the scenes of vernacular multi-ethnic heteroglossia that have dominated the research on crossing, and turns instead to a setting profoundly affected by violent conflict, where reconciliation initiatives have led to the introduction of the language of the traditional enemy at secondary school.? Drawing on two linguistic ethnographies in the same location (funded by King?s and Leverhulme), a radically different view of crossing emerges: rather than being closely tied to popular culture, crossing is shaped in the constraints and affordances of secondary education; inter-generational links count as much or more than peer group relations; ?technical redoing? is a more important key for crossing than ?make believe?, ?contests? or ?ceremonials? (Goffman 1974); it is the expression of political views that is avoided rather than the use of the other-ethnic language; and the mixed speech variety seen as pointing to the compatibility and integration of notionally distinct groups is rooted in the past rather than the present and future.? In this way, the concept of crossing retains and extends its value for the analysis of a distinctive sociolinguistic practice ? a practice that is not restricted to the vernacular activity widely documented in the literature, but can also be found in official sites struggling with a legacy of acute conflict and division.