Processes of authentication in music: a MULTIPLEtalkS data session
Questions of what can or cannot be considered 'authentic' permeate much of the social media and culture we engage with on a daily basis. This was illustrated recently by, for example, discussions on regional language use on national television, post-factum editing of literary works, and AI-generated texts. Over the past few decades, (socio)linguists have become increasingly interested in authenticity as a concept that can contribute to our understanding of linguistic variation and its meaning. Such an emphasis on authenticity first emerged in dialectological studies on the 'authentic speaker', that is, the speaker of a 'pure vernacular' who can offer scholars a view into their untainted linguistic output. More recently, however, many variationist sociolinguists have shifted their focus to the study of 'stylistic practices', which refers to the idea that speakers use linguistic devices to construct their identity, and build and rebuild socially meaningful personae. In my PhD, I aim to explore how contemporary, often white, blues artists use features of African American English as such a stylistic-linguistic strategy to position themselves within the genre by evoking values of artistic authenticity and credibility. In this MULTIPLEtalkS, which will take the shape of a data session, I would like to zoom in on how these and other processes of authentication are reported on by contemporary blues artists in interview data.
Speaker: Romeo De Timmerman
Discussant: Sibo Kanobana
Booster: Sofie Verkest