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Title: Rappers and Linguistic Variation: A study of Non-Standard Language in Selected Francophone Rap Tracks
Author(s): Verbeke, Martin R J
Supervisor(s): Marshall, Bill
Johnston, Cristina
Keywords: Linguistics
cultural studies
French rap
Francophone rap
linguistic variation
non-standard language
Belgian rap
French rap vocabulary
French rappers
Issue Date: 4-Nov-2015
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis examines the use of non-standard language, more specifically non-standard vocabulary (i.e. slang, verlan, colloquialisms, vulgarities, foreign borrowings, and abbreviations), in a corpus of selected francophone rap tracks in order both to quantify its use and to investigate what determines its variation, focusing on the impact of diachronic, diatopic, gender and diaphasic determinants. The methodology relies on a lexicographic analysis to produce quantitative results which are then analysed qualitatively by means of extract analyses and semi-structured interviews with francophone rappers. To answer the research questions, the thesis is divided into five chapters. The first chapter presents the aforementioned methodology and the overall quantitative results from the thesis, while also introducing the notion of variation, which is then tackled in the last four chapters. The second chapter investigates diachronic determinants from two perspectives: different generations of rappers (1990/1991, 2001 and 2011) and one artist throughout his career (Akhenaton in 1991, 2011 and 2011). The third chapter looks at diatopic determinants, analysing the impact of ethnic and spatial origins. Three ethnic origins are compared (rappers of French, Algerian and Senegalese origin), together with three cities (Marseille, Paris and Brussels) and three departments (Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne). The fourth chapter focuses on gender determinants, with a comparison of male versus female rappers that also takes broader gender performativity into account. Finally, the fifth chapter examines the impact of diaphasic determinants. It analyses three rap genres (jazz/poetic, ego trip and knowledge rap), which then form the foundation for qualitative discussions of the effect of aesthetics, figures of speech, themes and performance. In conclusion, the contribution to knowledge of this work is the observation that the main determinant of high use of non-standard vocabulary is the performance of modern ego trip. The other determinants do not impact non-standard vocabulary to the same extent quantitatively or systematically, due to the complexity of the contextual and fluid identity performances involved with these determinants.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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