January 26, 2018

Jan-22 Review

In the interest of keeping to my New Year's Resolution and updating this blog more frequently, I've decided to start doing a 'week in review' sort of post to summarize developments this past week, preview things to come, and comment on things that happened during the week.

I'm going to cheat a little and look beyond this week by promoting my article "Dialect Dissection: Taylor Swift & Genre Hopping." If you have not read it yet, check it out - it's the start of a series where I look at how major musicians use language and dialect in their music. Here we take a look at how Taylor Swift changes her accent throughout her career. It's got sound samples and IPA previews (done by yours truly), so get your headphones and hurry on over!

This week I tried my hand at publishing more than once per week... previously I had been lucky to publish once per month. I found an Accent Challenge on Twitter with some interesting word choice and delved a little into the history of accent challenges and why they pick the words they do. I also asked the question of why some pop singers in the 70s sounded like they were saying 'WUH-man' instead of 'woman.' As always, comments are welcome: have you participated in an accent challenge? Heard instances of someone saying 'WUH-man'? You don't need an account to comment, so don't let that stop you!

Next week is going to be a tough one. I'm probably about halfway through making the next Dialect Dissection. My goal is to publish it for the beginning of February, but I've got a pretty full schedule next week that may challenge that (Lana Del Rey concert in there, by the way!). There's another article I've been working on since December of 2016 (yes, that long!) that I was hoping to get published mid-December, but I wanted to see if I could get some experts to chime in on the subject matter before haphazardly posting. The next next Dialect Dissection is still a mystery - I can go with the one that's almost entirely written, but where I don't know the musician's backstory and non-studio material well, or I can take a risk and start a new one where I am much more familiar with the singer's oeuvre, but I'd need to start over the work of collecting examples. Either way, there's plenty more Dialect Dissection coming up.

In more personal news:

  • I've been re-reading Ada Palmer's "Too Like the Lightning," which is a science-fiction novel that, among many other things, explores how language affects society. I first heard of it because Gretchen McCullough - who runs the wonderful All Things Linguistic blog - read through part of it and tweeted down her reactions. When I saw Language Log had written about it to, I felt there must be something to this book to be written about on two linguistics blogs. It's a good read, but it requires a lot of worldbuilding before you can understand the plot, so don't rush through it. If you're interested in novels that deal with language, this is a pretty good bet.
  • If you haven't noticed, I have linked my Twitter and Instagram in the upper right corner! They do not show up yet in mobile view; I'll have to work on that. I post about linguistics and music, as personal posts. If there's any demand for social media that's dedicated solely to the blog, I can do that so you only get the updates. Facebook and a Tumblr page dedicated to the blog will be coming soon.
  • I challenged myself to listen to as many newly released and unheard albums that I could in 2017. I ended up listening to something like 80 albums. I don't think I'll be listening to every release of 2018 because that was a tiring project. If you have any recommendations for newly released albums throughout 2018, send them my way.

It's very exciting to be taking these steps towards making this blog a real thing. I don't want to make commitments that I can't keep, but I know that I want to post at least once a week, not including weekly recaps. If you want to get your linguistic musical fix more often, I recommend following me (Twitter and Instagram, for your convenience) for all the thoughts that don't quite warrant a post. Once again, thank you to everyone that's read an article and been kind enough to leave a comment or point out a typo. Your thoughts and help are invaluable. Let's see what's in store for next week!

- Karen

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