Super-diversity at the margins? Youth language in North Brabant, The Netherlands


  • Paul Mutsaers Tilburg University
  • Jos Swanenberg Tilburg University



Super-Diversity, Dialetcs, Regiolects, Languiging, Sociolinguistics, Repertoires


‘Super-diversity’ has gained popularity in the field of sociolinguistics as a new concept that jettisons the rather rigid toolkit of speech communities, ethnolects and mother tongues in favour of notions of truncated repertoires and resources that better capture the plurality of styles, registers and genres of people living in a globalized world. In this article we take stock of the (foregoing) literature on super-diversity (a ‘sociolinguistics of mobility’), pit it against a ‘sociolinguistics of distribution’, but then only to call for a rapprochement. We claim that studies on super-diversity have a ‘big city bias’ as they remain silent on (semi-)marginal places, in our case the Dutch countryside. Sociodialectologists have produced interesting data that show a distribution of regiolects (levelled dialects) in Europe, a development that holds connection to the very same processes of globalization. In an analysis of our language material gathered at four high schools in North Brabant, the Netherlands, we seek to bring together the literature on super-diversity and the literature on dialects and regionalization.

Author Biographies

Paul Mutsaers, Tilburg University

Paul Mutsaers (1984) is working as a PhD candidate at Tilburg University, Department of Culture Studies.

Jos Swanenberg, Tilburg University

Jos Swanenberg (1968) is professor on the endowed chair for linguistic and cultural diversity in Brabant at Tilburg University, Department of Culture Studies, and consultant for regional language in Brabant by order of the regional government. Before he was affiliated with the Linguistics Department at Radboud University Nijmegen.



How to Cite

Mutsaers, P., & Swanenberg, J. (2012). Super-diversity at the margins? Youth language in North Brabant, The Netherlands. Sociolinguistic Studies, 6(1), 65–89.