Dialect change

James Smith jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Mon Nov 4 14:06:53 UTC 2002

I'm not a professional musician, but having sung in a
number of chorals during my life, I can say that, to
make the sound more pleasing, dropping the "r" at the
end of words and eliminating diphthongs as much as
possible are two things which are stressed

--- Karl Krahnke <krahnke at LAMAR.COLOSTATE.EDU> wrote:
> The discussion on dialect change in song raises an
> issue I have been
> vaguely aware of for some time and on which I
> recently received some
> surprising evidence.
> I do not regularly listen to popular music of any
> kind (that is not meant
> as a snobbish remark--I just don't), but when I do
> hear sort of mainstream
> vocals (sorry, I can't be more precise, yet) I
> frequently notice the singer
> using a relatively r-less pronunciation and
> monophthonizing /ai/
> diphthongs. There may be other features, but I have
> not noticed them. Yet,
> as several of you have noted, when the singer is
> interviewed, s/he uses a
> fully r-ful dialect with diphthongs.
> I thought I was on to some unrecognized
> sociolinguistic change that I would
> get around to researching some day, when I mentioned
> this phenomenon to a
> freshman class of mine--extremely linguistically
> naive and r-pronouncing,
> diphthongizers. They shrugged and said that it was
> nothing new to them,
> that several had taken pop singing lessons and that
> was a basic part of the
> instruction.
> I haven't gone any further with this. Is this common
> knowledge? Any similar
> experiences?
> Karl Krahnke
> English Department
> Colorado State University

James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
South SLC, UT                  |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com     |whether we act quickly and decisively
                               |or slowly and cautiously.

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