Mariia Mykhalonok, M.A.
Research areas: Artistic code-switching | The language of song lyrics | Latin popular music | Morphosyntax of the Spanish language
PhD project (working title): Heterogeneity of reggaeton songs: Aspects of their production and reception (supervisor: Prof. Dr. Konstanze Jungbluth)
Languages: Ukrainian, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French
Scientific memberships: The International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM)
"Bad Bunny es un analfabeto": Language and prestige in Latin popular music
Media – Image, Text and Language
Monday, 16.15-17.45, AM 205
Spanish has a status of official or national language in Spain, Puerto Rico, and 20 countries in the Americas. Each of these 22 Spanish-speaking territories has their own national norm and/or standard, on the one hand, and various non-standardized varieties, on the other hand. This results in a significant geographical, or diatopic variation of the Spanish language. At the same time, Spanish displays a considerable social, or diastratic variation. As it happens in any language, linguistic patterns of individual Spanish speakers are influenced by their sociological characteristics, such as age, gender, race or ethnicity, social class, and socioeconomic level (e.g. Labov 1966; Trudgill 1974). Due to sociolinguistic, cultural, political, and economic factors, certain geographical and social varieties as well as specific linguistic features enjoy higher social prestige than others.
Contemporary Latin music reflects both the dialectal diversity and the inner hierarchy of the Spanish language. Artists who perform in internationally popular styles of Latin music, such as bachata, Latin pop, reggaeton, salsa, and (Latin) trap, come from a variety of geographical and sociolinguistic backgrounds. Recently, the new generation of Latin singers has been increasingly integrating elements from their own Spanish varieties – which are very often non-standard(ized) and/or even stigmatized – into song lyrics and live performances. This use of non-prestigious linguistic features has received diverse responses from the audiences, media, and researchers, which vary from praising the artists for promoting their ‘authentic’ ways of speaking to condemning them for using “invented” words and “broken” grammar.
During this course, we will examine the various ways in which most popular Latin artists from the past decade challenge the authority of standard(ized) Spanish(es) by taking a closer look at their songs, concerts, and interviews.
This course does not require any previous knowledge in the field of music. However, in order to be able to participate in class discussion, students need to have sufficient knowledge of the Spanish language (completed level B1).