Language Choice Practices in the ESC

  • Heiko Motschenbacher
Part of the Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse book series (PSDS)


Language choice practices represent sociolinguistic macro-choices that constitute acts of identity (Coulmas 2006; Le Page and Tabouret-Keller 1985). In the ESC, language choice is an important means of identity construction because it is likely to be decoded as identity-relevant even if recipients have no command of the respective language. Thus the choice of a certain language activates semantic layers (such as national affiliation or transnational European affiliation ) that work independently of the denotational content of the words used in the lyrics. Apart from identity-oriented functions, language choice in pop songs can be influenced by issues of international comprehensibility and, often connected with this, commercial success . If artists aim at an international market, English is generally a more effective choice than other languages, which in turn may be more successful on national markets (see Larkey 2000; McCann and Ó Laoire 2003; Survilla 2003).


Language Policy Minority Language National Language National Representation Language Choice 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heiko Motschenbacher
    • 1
  1. 1.Goethe-University Frankfurt am MainFrankfurtGermany

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