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“We ain’t terrorists, but we droppin’ bombs”: Language use and localization of hip hop in Egypt

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Title: “We ain’t terrorists, but we droppin’ bombs”: Language use and localization of hip hop in Egypt
Author(s): Williams, Angela S.
Advisor(s): Terkourafi, Marina
Department / Program: Linguistics
Discipline: Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): language and identity hip hop popular culture in the Middle East English in Egypt
Abstract: In this thesis I explore the localization of hip hop in the context of Egypt. I examine the process of localization in terms of the content (issues and topics), forms (language forms) and musical styles that are used in the cases of four Egyptian groups, MTM, Arabian Knightz, Y-Crew and Asfalt. I argue that despite one group’s (Arabian Knightz) frequent use of English, all the groups have become localized in terms of exploiting local themes and language conventions, as well as creating new language practices. I explore how the groups resist established usage conventions and redefine language ideologies. In demonstrating that language choices in hip hop lyrics do not merely reflect the existing social norms and language ideology, it will be seen that English, which usually functions as an ‘elite code’ in Egypt, is actually used in the lyrics to resist the English-speaking world. Through the production of rap music, the groups also change local traditions (i.e. meanings of local language), as well as create a space (via the Internet and media) for these traditions to spread (Pennycook 2007:139). I demonstrate that in regards to hip hop culture, localization is a process that involves local topics and the use of language conventions that authenticate the artists as being legitimate participants of hip hop culture while constructing their own hip hop identities.
Issue Date: 2010-01-06
Rights Information: Copyright 2009 Angela S. Williams
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-01-06
Date Deposited: 2009-12

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