Language structure: variation and change


Jacomine Nortier: Gender-related online metalinguistic comments on Straattaal and Moroccan Flavored Dutch in the Moroccan heritage community in the Netherlands


Straattaal (‘street language’) used by members of various ethnic groups contains linguistic material from English and several heritage languages with relatively many Sranan words. Moroccan Flavored Dutch (MFD) is Dutch with elements from Moroccan languages on the level of pronunciation, lexicon and/or grammar. Both Straattaal and MFD can be used by young MoroccanDutch. The basic question is: How is the use of MFD and Straattaal by Moroccan-Dutch females perceived within the Moroccan community in CMC? Data were collected by searching posts on social media. Male and female young Moroccan-Dutch comment negatively on Moroccan girls using Straattaal. However, MFD is used too, even by the same participants, receiving little overt attention. The use of and attitudes towards youth languages by females elsewhere sometimes differ from the Moroccan-Dutch context. Examples from Algeria, Indonesia and Hong Kong show that they are used by both females and men without overt negative connotations compared to Western Europe where they seem to be used predominantly by males. A possible explanation could be that there seems to be a gender restriction for varieties used as anti-languages (Halliday 1976), while youth varieties that mark socially upward mobility can be used by both males and females.

Keywords: youth language, social media, Straattaal, Moroccan Flavored Dutch, gender

Published online 31.10.2017 | DOI:

Margreet Dorleijn and Jacomine Nortier (guest editors):  Applied Linguistics Review. Special Issue: Metalinguistic discourse on multilingual urban and youth speech styles and multilingual awareness and linguistic practices. De Gruyter Mouton.