Diachronic Analysis of the Profane Words in English Song Lyrics:

A Computational Linguistics Perspective

  • Mazura Mastura Muhammad Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris
  • Flora Goyak Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Language and Communication, Sultan Idris Education University, 35900, Tanjong Malim, Perak. Malaysia
  • Muhamad Fadzllah Zaini Department of Malay Language and Literature, Faculty of Language and Communication, Sultan Idris Education University, 35900, Tanjong Malim, Perak. Malaysia
  • Wesam Mohamed Abdelkhalek Ibrahim Department of Basic Sciences, Community College, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman
Keywords: English song lyrics, Corpus computational tools, diachronic study, f-word, spoken English

Abstract

This diachronic study aims to explore the linguistic phenomena of the verb f-word in English song lyrics across genres and time via various corpus computational tools. A specialised corpus named Diachronic Corpus of English Song Lyrics (DCOESL) consisting of Country, Pop, Rhythm and Blues (R&B), and Rock genres from the years 1960 to 2009, was built for the analysis. Linguistics analysis of English song lyrics corpus was used as the research design. Computational corpus instruments were adopted to generate data. The findings reveal that corpus computational tools it has provided an avenue for researchers to explore languages across time. Additionally, the study shows that f-word in English song lyrics experience ascending trend since the 1980s, with highest occurrences in R&B (38pmw). F-word in DCOESL has strong collocational strength with personal pronoun me (17321pmw), MI=3.442. Personal pronoun me is very significant to the node f-word, T-score=3.274. F-word in DCOESL has highest significant lexical association with f-word in the spoken register of COCA, G2COCASPOKEN=102.40, df=1, p<.0001. It exhibits that the highest occurrences of f-word in DCOESL reflects social actions and a high preference for simple present tense, and simple sentence structure. In conclusion, the computational corpus analysis of f-word in English song lyrics has found that f-word prominently co-occur with personal pronoun in simple sentence structure and in simple present tense, in order to mirror English conversational discourse. The implication of this study is English song lyrics, especially from R&B genre, are a potentially authentic corpus resource for exploring spoken English.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Flora Goyak, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Language and Communication, Sultan Idris Education University, 35900, Tanjong Malim, Perak. Malaysia

He holds a Master's degree in TESL from Sultan Idris Education University. His specializations are Corpus Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and TESL.

Muhamad Fadzllah Zaini, Department of Malay Language and Literature, Faculty of Language and Communication, Sultan Idris Education University, 35900, Tanjong Malim, Perak. Malaysia

Lecturer in the Department of Malay Language and Literature, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). Areas of specialization are Corpus Linguistics and Computer Applications in Language Education.

Wesam Mohamed Abdelkhalek Ibrahim, Department of Basic Sciences, Community College, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman

Senior lecturer at the Department of Basic Sciences, Community College, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman.

References

Bartle, G. (1962). Music in the language classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review, 19(1), 11-14. https://doi.org/10.3138/cmlr.19.1.11

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Leech, G. (2002). Longman student grammar of spoken and written English. Pearson Education Limited.

Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finnegan, E. (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Pearson Education Limited.

BNC Consortium. (2018). British National Corpus: BNCweb (CQP-Edition). http://bncweb.lancs.ac.uk/cgibinbncXML/BNCquery.pl?theQuery=search&urlTest=yes

Březina, V. (2018). Statistics in corpus linguistics: A practical guide. Cambridge University Press.

Bridle, M. (2018). Male blues lyrics 1920 to 1965: A corpus based analysis. Language and Literature, 27(1), 21-37. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947017751757

Burnim, M. V. & Maultsby, P. K. (2014). African American music. Routledge.

Burrel, B. C. (2004). Women and political participation: A reference handbook. ABC-CLIO.

Domoney, L. & Harris, S. (1993). Justified and ancient: Pop music in EFL classrooms. ELT Journal, 47, 234-241.

Eken, D. K. (1996). Ideas for using pop songs in the English language classroom. English Teaching Forum, 34, 46-47.

Glasrud, B. A. & Wintz, C. D. (2019). Black Americans and the civil rights movement in the west. University of Oklahoma Press.

Goddard, C. (2014). Jesus! vs Christ! In Australian English: Semantics, secondary interjections and corpus analysis. In J. Romero-Trillo (Eds.), Yearbook of corpus linguistics and pragmatics 2014: New empirical and theoretical paradigms (pp. 55-77). Springer International Publishing.

Griffee, D. T. (1992). Songs in action. Phoenix ELT.

Hajdu, D. (2016). Love for sale: Pop music in America. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Hornby, A. S., Turnbull, J., Lea, D., Parkinson, D., Phillips, P., Francis, B., Webb, S., Bull, V, & Ashby, M. (2010). Oxford advanced learner's dictionary international student's edition (8th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Hunston, S. (2002). Corpora in applied linguistics. Cambridge University Press.

Iosef, M. (2013). Signs of colloquialization: Three corpus-based case studies [Master's thesis, University of Oslo). University of Oslo Library. https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle/10852/37034/iosef_master.pdf?isAllowed=y&sequence=2

Jolly, Y. (1975). The use of songs in teaching foreign languages. The Modern Language Journal, 59(1,2), 11-14. https://doi.org/10.2307/325440

Krashen, S. T. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Pergamon.

Lindquist, H. (2009). Corpus linguistics and the description of English. Edinburgh University Press.

Ljung, M. (2011). Swearing: A cross-cultural linguistics study. Palgrave Macmillan.

Lo, R. & Fai Li, H. C. (1998). Songs enhance learner involvement. English Teaching Forum, 36(3), 8-11.

Logan, B., Kositsky, A., & Moreno, P. (2004). Semantic analysis of song lyrics. Paper presented at IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo, Taipei, Taiwan.

Marsh, D. (1993). Louie Louie: The history ofmythology of the world’s most famous Rock ‘n’ Roll song. Hyperion.

McEnery, A. M. (2006). Swearing in English: Bad language, purity and power from 1586 to the present. Routledge.

McEnery, A. M., & Xiao, Z. (2003). F-word revisited. In D. Archer, P. Rayson, A. Wilson, & A. M. McEnery (Eds.), Proceedings of the corpus linguistics 2003 conference (pp. 504-512). Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language Technical Papers, Lancaster University.

McEnery, T., Xiao, R., & Tono, Y. (2006). Corpus-based language studies: An advanced resource book. Routledge.

Motschenbacher, H. (2016). Language, normativity, and Europeanisation: Discursive evidence from the Eurovision Song Contest. Palgrave Macmillan.

Moynihan, D. P. (1965). U.S. Department of labor. The Negro family: The case for national action. In P. J. Ling & S. Monteith (Eds.), Gender in the civil rights movement (pp. 42). Garland Publishing, Inc.

North, A. C., Hargreaves, D. J., Hargreaves, J. J. (2004). The uses of music in everyday life. Music Perception, 22, 63–99.

Petrie, K. J., Pennebaker, J. W., & Sivertsen, B. (2008). Things we said today: A linguistic analysis of the Beatles.

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2(4), 197- 202.

Richards, J. (1969). Songs in language learning. TESOL Quarterly, 3(2), 161-174. https://doi.org/10.2307/3586103

Ripani, R. J. (2006). The new Blue music: Changes in Rhythm and Blues (1950-1999). University Press of Mississippi.

Saarinen, E. (2013). From war pigs to unsung heroes: The criticism and justification of war in metal lyrics [Master’s thesis, University of Turku). Turun Yliopisto. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe201306123973

Schoepp, K. (2001). Reasons for using songs in the ESL/EFL classroom. Internet TESL Journal, 2(2). http://iteslj.org/Articles/Schoepp-Songs.html

Sinclair, J. M. (2015). How to use corpora in language teaching. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Stuart-Hamilton, I. (2007). An Asperger dictionary of everyday expressions. Jessica Kingsley.

Sutcliffe, P. (2011). AC/DC: High voltage Rock ‘n’ Roll the ultimate illustrated history. Voyageur Press.

Taina, J. (2014). Keywords in heavy metal lyrics [Master’s thesis, University of Helsinki). Helda. https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/136524/keywords.pdf

Tognini-Bonelli. (2001). Corpus linguistics at work. Amsterdam.

Trillo, J. R. (2008). Pragmatics and corpus linguistics: A mutualistic entente. Mouton de Gruyter.

Wales, K. (1996). Personal pronouns in present-day English. Cambridge University Press.

Ward, B. (1998). Just my soul responding: Rhythm and Blues, black consciousness and race relations. UCL Press.

Published
2022-05-03
How to Cite
Muhammad, M., Goyak, F., Zaini, M. F., & Abdelkhalek Ibrahim, W. M. (2022). Diachronic Analysis of the Profane Words in English Song Lyrics:. Malaysian Journal of Music, 11(1), 14-32. https://doi.org/10.37134//mjm.vol11.1.2.2022