How mainstream is youth slang in advertising language accommodation?

IMS-er Joyce Koeman published a new study in Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap together with her colleague Stefania Marzo (QLVL KU Leuven) and master student Nives Schoofs (KU Leuven). This paper examines how language accommodation, in terms of incorporating a youth slang (Citétaal) in advertising slogans, enhances general advertising attitudes and buying intentions among youngsters. Citétaal, a youth slang spoken in multicultural areas in Flemish Limburg, is perceived as a variety spoken in the city of Genk by youngsters of migrant descent, but has spread among other urban youth in Flanders. In this 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 and its speakers, its application in advertising is generally accepted and found appealing to a wide variety of youngsters. Incorporating the symbolic attributions made to a particular language variety can further optimize language accommodation strategies in advertising.

Koeman, J., Marzo, S., Schoofs, N. (2016). Hoe mainstream is ‘Citétaal’? De impact van het gebruik van jongerentaal in reclameslogans. Tijdschrift voor Communicatiewetenschap, 44 (2), 168-184

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