Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton December 14, 2009

Adolescents and identity

  • Ronald K. S. Macaulay
From the journal


Adolescence is a period of experimentation in many kinds of behavior. The examples in the present paper come from recordings of working-class adolescents made in Glasgow in 1997, 2003, and 2004. They show that these adolescents are adopting new forms of speech including new discourse features that seem to have developed locally, rather than having been imported from outside. This paper examines two areas in which the adolescents employ innovative forms: non-traditional intensifiers and quotatives. Previous studies had shown that Scottish working-class speakers make limited use of the intensifiers ‘very’ and ‘really’. The Glasgow adolescents in 1997 used ‘pure’ and ‘dead’ as their main intensifiers. By 2003 ‘dead’ was used much less frequently but ‘pure’ continued to be used in many contexts, and this continued in 2004, though ‘so’ was beginning to be used in certain contexts. Three new intensifiers, ‘healthy’, ‘heavy’ and ‘mad’ were becoming more popular in 2004. Non-traditional quotatives, such as ‘go’, ‘be like’ and ‘be all’, have been spreading quickly among younger speakers. In Glasgow working-class adolescents in 1997 preferred two variants, ‘be like that’ and ‘go like that’, but by 2004 ‘be like’ was used almost as frequently and a new form ‘done (that)’ was gaining ground.

Published Online: 2009-12-14
Published in Print: 2009-December

© 2009 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin

Downloaded on 29.5.2023 from
Scroll to top button