“Dit is het nieuws van zeven uur met Mohammed” Talige variatie in een multi-etnische jongerengroep in Antwerpen



Standardization efforts in Flanders, as in much of Western Europe, have led to a radically
declining use of traditional dialects for everyday communication. They are not, however,
substituted by standard languages as much as other, so-called sub-standard, varieties are
now increasingly occupying the vacant ground. The success of these sub-standard varieties
is moreover attributed to teenagers, who are said to be ever more indifferent to standard
language norms, to lose themselves in electronic communication and increasingly to
adopt multi-ethnic urban street styles. This leads to public concern, as only a competence
in Standard Dutch is said to assure school success and the ensuing labour market opportunities.
The stereotypical view of ethnic urban youth in Flanders is that they are incompetent
in Dutch or unwilling to speak it. The present article discusses and revises this
widely accepted view by analysing data collected during long-term fieldwork in a mixed ethnicity
group of teenage girls in Antwerp.