Codeswitching and stereotyping on Moroccan-Dutch webforums

Vincent A. De Rooij

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The


On popular Moroccan-Dutch websites such as or, storytelling by young women is a popular feature. The stories analyzed in this paper are told in installments; they evoke many enthusiastic reactions, and may 'run' for many consecutive months.

The language varieties used in these stories range from standard Dutch to youth varieties of Dutch often labelled 'street language' with insertional codeswitching from Dutch to Moroccan Arabic, Berber, and English. Dealing with problems faced by young Moroccan-Dutch women, such as forced marriage and male-female inequality, these stories rely heavily on codeswitching as a means of giving shape to various social actors in a stereotypical way.

The paper shows how storytellers construct and make use of indexical and iconic relations between language varieties and speakers/actors that play a role in the stories told by posters to webforums. Switches to Arabic and Berber are quite consistently linked to older generation actors and 'home' settings whereas switches to 'youth language' mostly occur in the quoted speech of 'players' and young people outside the domain of parental control in general.

Session: Paper session
Code-Switching 2
Thursday, April 3, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 10