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Rocking the corpus. A discourse analysis of pop rock lyrics.

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Abstract

Pop rock songs are everywhere – except for corpora. As Kreyer and Mukherjee (2007: 31) point out: “pop song lyrics have not been included in any of the standard reference corpora of present-day British and American English […]; pop songs are virtually absent from corpus-linguistic research”. The current state of research on pop rock songs in Spanish does not constitute an exception to this statement. Thus, the aim of this paper is to present the main language use patterns (Bubenhofer 2009) regarding enunciation (Laferl 2005, Calsamiglia and Tusón 2015) and semantic processes (Halliday 1978, Ghio and Fernández 2008) in a corpus consisting of 1.000 pop rock lyrics in Spanish (169.500 tokens). The present corpus was compiled following the sociological criteria of consecration and canonization as well as central aesthetic values such as authenticity and hybridization (cf. Val, Noya & Pérez-Colman 2014). It comprises 85 albums released between 1968 and 2015 by artists coming from over 12 countries. 819 texts were taken from CD booklets or artists homepages and 181 lyrics were transcribed from recordings. They were then analyzed with both AntConc 3.4.4W and WordSmithTools 6.0 and finally POS-tagged using Treetagger. In accordance to the results of prior corpus-linguistic research on pop rock lyrics in English (Murphey 1990, Kreyer and Mukherjee 2007, Werner 2012, Bértoli-Dutra 2014), pop rock discourse in Spanish builds upon the personal pronouns and possessive determiners of first (yo, me, mi) and second person singular (tú, te, tu). The most frequent enunciative structure as proposed by Laferl (2005: 68) is: “The I addresses itself to a you and talks about their relationship”. However, both main participants in lyrics show different semantic preferences when it comes to types of processes: whereas the articulate “I” tends to be involved in mental (querer, sentir) processes, the “you” carries out material (irse, dar, dejar, llevar) or verbal (decir, pedir) processes. The semantic categories which Bértoli-Dutra (2014: 162) grouped for the factor extraction in her multi-dimensional analysis of pop songs in English show therefore following distribution in the lyrics in Spanish: “movement” and “speech” apply rather to the “you”; “emotion”, on the contrary, appears mainly close to the “I”. The linguistic representation of the main participants in pop rock lyrics shall be presented in this paper through the discourse analysis of clusters with deictic expressions referred to the “I” and the “you” in the corpus. Special attention will be paid to lexical co-occurrences with tags corresponding to clitic and personal pronouns, possessive determiners and verbal forms (i.e. lexical and modal verbs as well as ser, estar, haber).
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tĞƌŶĞƌ͕s͘ϮϬϭϮ͘>ŽǀĞŝƐĂůůĂƌŽƵŶĚ͗ĂĐŽƌƉƵƐʹďĂƐĞĚƐƚƵĚLJŽĨƉŽƉʹůLJƌŝĐƐ͘ŽƌƉŽƌĂ͕ϳͬϭ͗ϭϵʹϱϬ͘
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