Gaul, conversation and youth genre(s) in Java

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This paper provides a nuanced understanding of Bahasa Gaul ‘the language of
sociability’. It does so by examining more than 25 hours of casual youth conversations in East Java. I show how Bahasa Gaul is used to construct and respond to Indonesian youth discourse in conversation. I position the discussion with regard to two related notions: intersubjectivity and indexicality. Youth discourse is firstly shown to be patterned and sequential. Speakers use Bahasa Gaul to boldly enact and respond to stances when negotiating intersubjectivity. Secondly, speakers are shown to invoke a Jakarta ‘voice’ to enact stances which are bold, cheeky and even potentially offensive. However, these stances are often performed rather than merely spoken. Performance simultaneously positions these stances within overlapping frames of irony and ramai ‘noisiness’. These frames are shown to be essential to the construction of the social category gaul in contemporary Java.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalNusa: linguistic studies of Indonesian and other languages in Indonesia
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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