How do people use language to style themselves


TMA Question:

How do people use language to “style” themselves – to take on a particular persona or juggle between personae in interaction with others?

You are encouraged to reflect on your own experience, use your own examples, report views and cite examples from both the course material and other sources.

Student notes:

  • This TMA is to be written in between 1400 – 1500 words.
  • The main source of study material for this TMA topic is Chapter 3 of the textbook The Art of English: literary creativity and Readings A and B in the same chapter.
  • There is also relevant material in the E301A Study Guide (Unit 3, pp. 29-41).
  • The accompanying CD-Rom Bands: 7 (Messing with style), 8 (Language crossing) & 10 (Performance and performativeity) are useful too.
  • Any other external resources you find relevant.
  • Students are welcome to provide views and examples from their own cultural/linguistic background. These will be considered as an added asset.


Suggested Resources:

  1. Goffman, E. (1981) Forms of Talk, Oxford, Blackwell.
  2. Hebdige, D. (1984) Subculture: The meaning of style, New York, Methuen.
  3. Hewitt, R. (1986) White Talk Black Talk, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  4. Rampton, B. (2005) Crossing: Language and Ethnicity Among Adolescents, Manchester, St. Jerome Press; 1st ed. London, Longman.