Recent work in sociolinguistics has reconceptualised style as “a multimodal and multidimensional cluster of linguistic and other semiotic practices for the display of identities in interaction” (Bucholtz 2009:146). We can understand style as an “active social process” (Levon 2009:30) which speakers engage in, in order to construct different types of social identities. Importantly, this definition of style is in keeping with how style is understood in other realms of life, meaning that style is primarily about distinctive (Irvine 2001:21).


Bucholtz, Mary. 2009. From stance to style: Gender, interaction, and indexicality in Mexican immigrant youth slang. In Alexandra Jaffe (ed.) Stance: Sociolinguistic Perspectives, 146-170. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.

Irvine, Judith T. 2001. Style as distinctiveness: The culture and ideology of linguistic differentiation. In. Penelope Eckert & John R. Rickford (eds.) Style and sociolinguistic variation, 21-43. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Levon, Erez. 2009. Dimensions of style: Context, politics and motivation in gay Israeli Speech. Journal of Sociolinguistics 13(1): 29-58.

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