Acts of Conflicting Identity: The Sociolinguistics of British Pop-song Pronunciation
Anyone with an interest in British rock and pop songs will have observed that there are ‘rules’ concerning the way in which the words of these songs are pronounced.1 The label ‘tendencies’ might be more appropriate than ‘rules’ in some instances, but in any case it is clear that singers of this form of music employ different accents when singing from when they are speaking, and that deviations from their spoken accents are of a particular and relatively constrained type. This phenomenon of employing a modified pronunciation seems to have been current in popular music for some decades, probably since the 1920s, and has involved a number of different genres, including jazz, ‘crooning’, and so on. It became, however, especially widespread and noticeable in the late 1950s with the advent of rock-and-roll and the pop-music revolution.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Giles, H. and Smith, P. (1979) ‘Accommodation Theory: Optimal Levels of Convergence’, in Giles, H. and St Clair, R. (eds) Language and Social Psychology ( Oxford: Blackwell ).Google Scholar
- Le Page, R. B. (1968) ‘Problems of Description in Multilingual Communities’, TPS 1968, pp. 189–212.Google Scholar
- Le Page, R. B. (1975) ‘Polarizing Factors: Political, Social, Economic, Operating on the Individual’s Choice of Identity Through Language Use in British Honduras’, in Savard, J. G. and Vigneault, R. (eds) Les États Multilingues ( Quebec: Laval University Press ).Google Scholar
- Le Page, R. B. (1978) ‘Projection, Focussing, Diffusion’, Society for Caribbean Linguistics Occasional Paper 9.Google Scholar
- Zwicky, A. (1976) ‘Well, This Rock and Roll Has Got to Stop. Junior’s Head is Hard as a Rock’, in Mufwene, S. et al. (eds) Proceedings of the 12th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
- Coupland, N. (1988a) Dialect in Use ( Cardiff: University of Wales Press).Google Scholar
- Coupland, N. (ed.) (1988b) Styles of Discourse ( London: Croom Helm ).Google Scholar
- Coupland, N. and Giles, H. (eds) (1988) Communicative Accommodation: Recent Developments. Double special issue of the journal Language and Communication, 8, 3/4.Google Scholar
- Finegan, E. and Biber, D. (1994) Perspectives on Register: Situating Register Variation within Sociolinguistics ( New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
- Giles, H. (ed.) (1984) The Dynamics of Speech Accommodation. Special issue of the International Journal of Sociology of Language,46.Google Scholar
- Joos, M. (1962) The Five Clocks (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore, and Linguistics).Google Scholar
- Rampton, B. (1995) Crossing: Language and Ethnicity among Adolescents ( London: Longman).Google Scholar
- Rickford, J. and Eckert, P. (eds) (1997) Style ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ).Google Scholar