ADS-L Digest - 31 Oct 2002 to 1 Nov 2002 (#2002-280)

Kathryn Remlinger remlingk at GVSU.EDU
Sat Nov 2 18:29:40 UTC 2002

Date: ***Fri, 1 Nov 2002 01:47:11 -0500
From: ***Frank Abate <abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: FW: dialect change?

What is said below re changes in one's speech sounds while singing occurs in
rock singing, noticeably when Brit rock singers "lose" much of their
"accent" when singing, largely, I believe, because the intonational aspect
of the sound of their dialect is diminished.

I noticed this with the early songs of the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the
Kinks, and the Animals (1964-5). *Part of this may be attributed to their
trying NOT to sound British (sometimes even trying to sound like Elvis)-- as
the US market was so important -- but part, too, is because singing seems to
flatten or obscure many dialectal characteristics re the sound of vowels and
intonation. *Later, when their fame was established, they were more willing
to sing purely as Brits, but even then much of the "English accent" is

Frank Abate

On Thu, 31 Oct 2002 16:27:53 -0500 joshua <nerd_core at EXCITE.COM> writes:

> when people sing, they pronounce words differently (they drop
> consonants, substitute phonemes, etc.) *doing this isn't technically
> a dialect change, so what would we call it?

Not directly on point, but related.

Back in the 50s and 60s, Fred Waring (actually it was probably Roy
Ringwald, his arranger) developed a phonetic notation for lyrics for
choral music. All the published Fred Waring sheet music had the regular
lyrics, but printed below them was a phonetic version.

Anyway, if it is a dialect, it has a formal written form.


Peter Trudgill has an article called "Acts of Conflicting Identity" that discusses the register shift used by Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and others. He attitributes the shift in part to accomodation, in part to marketing, among other factors. The article is in Coupland and Jaworski's reader _Sociolinguistics_.


Kathryn Remlinger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English: Linguistics
Department of English
Grand Valley State University
1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401 USA
remlingk at
tel: 616-895-3122
fax: 616-895-3430

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