Sociolinguistic Circle edition:3 location:Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen date:15 APRIL 2016
Stefania Marzo, Joyce Koeman & Nives Schoofs
In the past 20 years, sociolinguists have largely documented urban youth vernaculars that have emerged in multicultural working-class neighborhoods in Europe. The Belgian Limburgian variant is often called Citétaal (‘citélanguage’). It emerged and developed in the former suburban mining neighborhoods (called cités) where a significant number of speakers still have bi- or multilingual backgrounds, including their heritage language (generally Italian, Turkish or Moroccan) alongside the standard and non-standard Dutch varieties.
Previous studies have shown that Citétaal is spreading among local youngsters and that it is shifting from marking ethnicity to indexing a local identity. Citétaal is often associated to a sense of belonging to the city of Genk (Limburg) and in particular it signals an identification with the local neighborhoods where youngsters of migrant descent grew up.
Given its strong indexical values, Citétaal is an ideal test case for the study of the effect of language associations on advertising attitudes. Although Citétaal has already been used in local advertising (e.g. in a Mediamarkt campaign), it is not clear whether it really enhances advertising attitudes and buying intentions.
This paper examines how language accommodation, in terms of incorporating a youth slang (Citétaal) in advertising slogans, affects general advertising attitudes and buying intentions among youngsters. In an experiment we examined variances in the attitudes and buying intentions generated by slogans in Citétaal and Standard Dutch according to multiple consumer identifications (viz. place of residence and migration background) as well as stereotypical associations with Citétaal.
The results show that although ambivalent attributions are made to Citétaal by both speakers and non-speakers, its application in advertising is generally accepted and found appealing to a wide variety of youngsters.