Google Sites allows you to create a simple section for announcements inside of this websites. It is very easy to use...

Conference media

posted Aug 7, 2013, 4:01 AM by Ellen Harosh

Then the following links will take you to radio interviews:
PowerFM interview with Ellen Hurst pt 1

SAFM interview with Thabo Ditsele

AUYL conference 2013

posted Jul 11, 2013, 11:06 PM by Ellen Harosh

The conference was a success! More news will be posted here soon about the media (including radio interviews and new articles) that was generated by the conference.

Language Matters publication

posted Jun 28, 2013, 12:33 AM by Ellen Harosh   [ updated Jun 28, 2013, 12:41 AM ]

The latest article by myself and Raj has been published.. the details are as follows:

Hurst, Ellen & Mesthrie, Rajend. 2013. ‘When you hang out with the guys they keep you in style’: the case for considering style in descriptions of South African tsotsitaals.  Language Matters, 44 (1), 3-20.


The collection of South African urban language phenomena called Tsotsitaal, Scamtho, Ringas (in short ‘Tsotsitaals’) etc, have been described differently as code-switching, mixed languages, or essentially slang vocabulary. These descriptions however, fail to acknowledge the centrality of performance to these phenomena. Tsotsitaals draw on extra-linguistic modes of identity performance such as body language, clothing, and other facets of what could commonly be called ‘style’. This article uses Coupland's (2007) description of style to understand how tsotsitaals can be viewed as discursive practices performed to achieve social meaning. The research draws on fieldwork conducted in Cape Town in 2006–2007 to expand our understanding of tsotsitaals. It considers perceptions of the style associated with tsotsitaals from the viewpoint of both speakers and listeners in a township community in Cape Town. We argue that current terminology used for varieties of this sort is inadequate to describe the combination of performance, lexicon and style associated with tsotsitaals.

French Institute Seminars in Humanities - Pierre Aycard

posted Mar 19, 2013, 2:27 AM by Ellen Harosh   [ updated Mar 19, 2013, 2:28 AM ]

French Institute Seminars in Humanities - Pierre Aycard

One of our PhD students on the project, Pierre Aycard, gave this seminar at the French Institute in Johannesburg recently. The French Institute is also providing funding for our upcoming conference on African Urban & Youth Language.

Publication in JPCL

posted Mar 19, 2013, 2:25 AM by Ellen Harosh

A new article by Raj Mesthrie and myself is now out in print (I received the hardcopy myself this morning). The details are as follows:

Slang registers, code-switching and restructured urban varieties in South Africa: An analytic overview of tsotsitaals with special reference to the Cape Town variety

Authors: Mesthrie, Rajend; Hurst, Ellen

Source: Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, Volume 28, Number 1, 2013 , pp. 103-130(28)

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company


This paper examines the status of an informal urban variety in Cape Town known as Tsotsitaal. Similar varieties, going by a plethora of names (Flaaitaal, Iscamtho, Ringas) have been described in other South African cities, especially Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban (see also Sheng in Kenyan cities). This paper seeks to describe the essential characteristics of Cape Town Tsotsitaal, which is based on Xhosa, and to argue for its continuity with similar varieties in other South African cities. However, this continuity eventually calls into question many of the previous assumptions in the literature about Tsotsitaal and its analogues: e.g. the thesis that these varieties necessarily involve code-switching, or that they are pidgins, even ones that are creolising in some areas. More generally, this paper serves several purposes: (a) to comment on and elucidate why there is a proliferation of often contradictory names, (b) to examine the degree and types of switching in the different varieties, and (c) to clarify the relationship between what are essentially tsotsitaal registers and the urban languages they are part of.

Plenary speaker announced!

posted Nov 16, 2012, 1:34 AM by Ellen Harosh

Peter Githinji from Ohio University has accepted our invitation to speak at the conference - we're looking foward to hearing him talk about his work on Sheng in Kenya...

On the radio

posted Nov 16, 2012, 12:37 AM by Ellen Harosh

I'm going to be live on national radio at 1.30pm this Sunday 18th November talking about our conference next year on African urban youth languages... listen on South African radio station SAfm 104-107.

Recent presentations and latest publications

posted Oct 24, 2012, 2:43 AM by Ellen Harosh

Since the LSSA in June our SANPAD project has been on a kind of tour - Princess and Pierre presented their data at the Sociolinguistics Symposium in Berlin at the end of August, and I acted as discussant on the panel which hosted them. The panel was called 'Non-standard and youth varieties in urban Africa: language dynamics in rapidly modernizing cities', organised by me, Heather Brookes and Katja Ploog, and it attracted quite a bit of interest. Then after Berlin we went through to Leiden to present our data at the annual CALL (Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics).

Then, myself and Raj mesthrie have just had two new publications accepted. The details are below, I'll update them with issue numbers etc. when available.

Mesthrie, R. & Hurst, E. 2013. Slang registers, code-switching and restructured urban varieties in South Africa: an analytic overview of tsotsitaals with special reference to the Cape Town variety. Accepted for publication in the Journal of Pidgin & Creole Linguistics.

Hurst, E. & Mesthrie, R. 2013. ‘When you hang out with the guys they keep you in style’: the case for considering style in descriptions of South African tsotsitaals. Accepted for publication in Language Matters.

AUYL conference Cape Town 5th & 6th July 2013

posted Sep 27, 2012, 7:59 AM by Ellen Harosh   [ updated Oct 24, 2012, 2:46 AM ]

The conference flyer has been finalised and the venue booked for the first international conference on African Youth & Urban Language, taking place in Cape Town next year. We're looking forward to an exciting conference! Take a look at the conference page on this website.

You can also find us on Facebook here: African Urban and Youth Language Conference


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