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Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics research seminar

A Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics research seminar will take place on Thursday 14th March at 16.00 in C1079, as follows:


Vernacularisation of Basque youth media: from monolingualism to heteroglossia


Dr Agurtzane Elordui  (University of the Basque Country)


Youth media are a rich field of research when it comes to the use of vernaculars in the creation of media identities. In the case of English, for instance, Coupland (2014) points out that BBC Radio 1, the youth-oriented pop and rock BBC channel, aligns very much with the norm of popular vernaculars, and considers BBC Radio 1, and in general DJing contemporary music, as an example of ‘clear “no-go areas” for the standard, and as media environments where RP is ‘not only non-functional but risible’ (Coupland 2010).


Gaztea, the youth-oriented Basque radio broadcaster analysed in this research, however, did not follow that stylistic pattern when it was founded in the 1990s as part of the EITB Basque state media company. Gaztea was considered an important tool to use and promote the newly created Standard Unified Basque, Euskara Batua, and its whole production was in that standard variant. However, in the last ten years, there has been a change in its stylistic design. The hegemony of the standard has been challenged by a more heteroglossic stylistic design where young vernaculars are core tools in the creation of media identities. The main goal of our research is to analyse that new stylistic design and also what the linguistic ideological views and policies applied in that new design are; in particular the ongoing ideological reconfiguration of standard/vernacular relationships.


Gaztea is a good example of the tension between centripetal forces of uniformity and centrifugal forces of diversity in the new circumstances of small languages (Pietikäinen et al 2016). The historical transformation in linguistic practices and ideologies in Gaztea permits us to explore key phenomena in current sociolinguistics theoretical debates. These include:

1) vernacularisation as a current sociolinguistic change that  may also be affecting a language still immersed in a standardization process, like Basque, and its particularities in that case.

2) the relationship of that vernacularisation of media with a shifting ground of ideologies of authenticity in mediatized times, much in contrast to earlier tendencies that draw a sharp line between ‘authentic’ vernacular speech and media language.




Dr David Atkinson

Senior Lecturer in Spanish/Léachtóir Sinsearach le Spáinnis

School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics Research Director/Stiúrthóir Taighde Scoil na Nuatheangacha agus na Teangeolaíochta Feidhmí

Director, Centre for Applied Language Studies/Stiúrthóir, Ionad an Léinn Teangacha Feidhmeacha   

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences/Dámh na nDán, na nDaonnachtaí agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta

University of Limerick/Ollscoil Luimnigh 

Tel/Guthán:  00 353 (0)61 213082