Multilingualism remixed: Sampling, braggadocio and the stylisation of local voice

Quentin Williams, Christopher John Stroud


Among the many challenges posed by contexts of social transformation and extensive mobility is the question of how multilingual voice may carry across media, modalities and context. In this paper, we suggest that one approach to this complex problem may be to look at multilingual voice from a sociolinguistic perspective of performance. Our focus here is thus on how marginalised voices on the periphery of Cape Town become mainstreamed within the city’s hip-hop community. Specifically, we ask how emcees sample local varieties of language, texts and registers to stage their particular stylisation of voice. By way of conclusion, we make brief recommendations with respect to the study of multilingualism in South Africa and how the stylisation of local voices in Cape Town hip-hop could inform studies on multilingual policy and planning. 


multilingualism; remixing; stylised voice; sampling; hip-hop

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ISSN 2223-9936 (online); ISSN 1027-3417 (print)

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