Troll's English

I was watching a video for 2 Bad Mice’s Bombscare on YouTube and saw the following exchange in the comments:

Junglist619000 (4 months ago)
This is the boom choon fi real

coalvillebrad (4 months ago)
its tune and it is good but please speak english e’s didnt fuck you up that much surely

kevoconnor (4 months ago)
quality tune

jmelewis (4 months ago)
Totally fuckin brilliant.

Junglist619000 (4 months ago)
never took e in my life bitch bwoy

coalvillebrad (4 months ago)
see you still cant manage the queens english,would you like to buy a dictionary

Junglist619000 (4 months ago)
See, you still can’t manage the Queen’s English. Would you like to buy a dictionary? Keep trying to be a smartass over the internet buddy.

Fascinating clash of expectations about language. Junglist619000 employs a perfectly relevant way of talking, it seems to me, using elements of street language derived from Jamaican slang (and current in London’s old jungle scene) in order to comment on a classic jungle tune. Coalvillebrad claims that it isn’t “English” and suggests drug use led Junglist619000 to speak badly. Interestingly, Junglist619000’s reply addresses the drug claim, rather than the “English” claim, and remains in the same register as before (maybe staying in character?). When Coalvillebrad presses on his lack of “queens english”, Junglist619000 steps outside his purely junglist identity to rephrase Coalvillebrad’s sentence with “correct” capitalisation and punctuation, demonstrating Coalvillebrad’s own hypocrisy/ignorance and winning the exchange (well, I think it’s a win).

Two things strike me about this. One is the whiff of racism: in Junglist619000’s non-standard posts, he uses Jamaican words like “fi” and “bwoy”, which, coupled to Coalvillebrad’s decision not to display any fluency in standard English himself, suggest to me that Coalvillebrad’s real issue is “non-white” English, rather than “queens english”. The other is the very clear switching between language registers displayed by Junglist619000, something that I guess is familiar to anyone who spoke “properly” at home and differently in the playground (and of course these two different codes carry different kinds of social capital, a quality used to good effect by Junglist619000 here).

And also, kevoconnor and jmelewis are right on the money. Tune.

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