Language and music are connected in many ways. As social and cultural practices, they have been intertwined in multiple ways. Musical and linguistic practices are often intertwined to express distinct and complex identities, attitudes, ideologies, social roles and political views. Spaces characterized by migration, contact, multilingualism, and colonial inequalities, are particularly interesting for the study of the intersections between language and music.
This volume is the first book-length account of contact languages and music. It offers a stimulating collection of contributions on different territories, multiple musical genres and topics, and various methodological approaches. The chapters address myriad topics such as nationality, ethnicity, identity, gender, migration and diaspora.
Part 1 Language, Music and Identity
2. Discoursing the State of a Caribbean Nation \ 17
3. “Dennery Segment ka mennen”: Exploring the Dominance of Creole Languages in St Lucian Popular Music \ 37
4. Singing in Creole or Portuguese?: Santomean Musical Manifestations \ 64
5. Wi Ful a Patan: A Quantitative Approach to Language Use in Jamaican Popular Music \ 89
6. Styling through Rhyming: Gender and Vowel Variation in Jamaican Dancehall Lyrics \ 103
7. Language Use in Peter Ram’s Soca Performances \ 138
8. Singing the King’s Creole: The (Ethno)Linguistic Repertoire of Clifton Chenier \ 159
Part 2 Translocal Perspectives
9. Rap Kriolu Revisited: From the Transnational Diaspora to Cape Verde and Back \ 193
10. Authentic Crossing?: Jamaican Creole in African Dancehall \ 231
11. Jamaican in Transatlantic Contact Spaces: Linguistic Practices in African Reggae, Dancehall and Other Popular Musics \ 258
12. Jamaric Reggae: Jamaican Speech Forms in Contemporary Ethiopian Reggae Music \ 284
13. Caribbean Identity in Pop Music: Rihanna’s and Nicki Minaj’s Multivocal Pop Personas \ 313
List of Contributors \ 337
Index \ 339
Music and language have a manifold relationship: Language is a crucial part of many musical forms and practices, while musical features are seen in language as well. They share contexts, spaces and histories in many sociocultural expressive forms. Links between language and music have been explored by scholars in various contexts. For example, Jackendoff and Lehrdahl adapted Noam Chomsky’s linguistic generative approach to music. While this aimed at finding a common theoretical approach, studying “universal musical grammar” and a formal description of musical understanding, the approach does not seem to be very influential today. In recent decades, and especially since the beginning of the twenty-first century, sociolinguistic accounts of popular music have become quite common, such as hip-hop (Alim 2006; Alim, Ibrahim and Pennycook 2009; Terkourafi 2010) or reggae and dancehall (Devonish 1996, 1998, 2006; Devonish and Jones 2017; Farquharson 2005; Hollington 2016, 2018; Jones 2019). Exploring various connections of language and music as social practices opens up a large field of possibilities and perspectives.
This is where the present volume comprises and ties in chapters that seek to look at various intersections and connections of language and music. Different accounts shed light on language variation, the use of Creole language in music, language ideologies, authenticity, language and identity, the ethnography of communication, multilingualism and language contact, language attitudes, linguistic creativity and transnational flows. Instead of concentrating on a specific music genre, this volume presents a colourful collection of different practices in various music genres and styles, as well as in different parts of the world. The shared focus of this book is that each contribution sheds light on one or more aspects of (a) contact language(s) and the ways linguistic practices feature in and impact on various music styles.
Numerous creolized cultures, as well as societies characterized by linguistic pluralism and contact, have yielded rich musical practices in which contact languages are used. In many cases, music, as a social and cultural form of expression, has constituted a domain in which contact languages have gained prestige, preserved historical linguistic forms and served as strong markers of identity. Especially in colonial and postcolonial contexts, contact languages referred to as Creole have usually been regarded as low prestige varieties with little power, especially in official and political domains. Here, music has offered spaces in which Creole languages could not only flourish but also be celebrated as cultural heritage. Despite these important aspects, no book-length volume on the interplay of contact languages and music exists to date. This volume presents a number of original case studies from mainly anglophone Caribbean and African contexts that have not been discussed in previous works. It also explores some other contact varieties in francophone and lusophone contexts. Additionally, this volume aims at filling the aforementioned research gap by providing insights into a number of Creole language and musical practices from Jamaica to São Tomé, and from Louisiana to Trinidad and Tobago. Apart from documenting and analysing the use of contact languages in music practices, the volume seeks to explore, in particular, questions of identity and authenticity, which are addressed by the various contributors in their respective chapters with regard to methodological, theoretical and ideological standpoints and perspectives:
- How is the intersection between contact languages and music deployed by artistes to construct and negotiate various identities?
- How do the intersectionalities between contact languages and notions of race, authenticity, class and nationality “play out” in music?
- How are linguistic performances in music by second-language speakers of contact languages assessed and evaluated as authentic by first-language and second-language speakers?
- What is the basis of the evaluations made by audiences at home and abroad about the authenticity of contact languages as second languages in music?