Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/10789
Keeping their Cool: Speech vs. Song in British Popular Music
This paper discusses the difference between a singer's singing pronunciation and their speaking accent. Two singers are discussed with this in mind, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins and John Lyndon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten), who both grew up in Tottenham, although 32 years apart, and therefore have a similar dialectal background. It is apparent that their singing and speech pronunciation is not the same, but just how different is therefore the subject of this paper. Various factors outside phonetics are shown to be the probable cause of this difference, such as the socio-political climate in London in the late 1970s and the development of 20th century popular music. With regard to phonetics, the paper includes a discussion on London English, namely Estuary English and Cockney, as well as 'BBC English' or RP (Received Pronunciation). Furthermore, the paper touches upon the debate concerning Estuary English: how it should be defined and how it relates to RP and Cockney. In order to realize which dialect of English Adele and Johnny actually speak, their pronunciation is examined by comparing the phonetic variables they display in interviews (found in Appendices I and III) with known variables of each of the above mentioned dialects. With regard to their singing pronunciation, the notions of 'cool' and 'coolness' are used in order to explain what inspires and influences the two singers. This is done because what one thinks is cool can affect a singers singing pronunciation, although it might not be a fully conscious process.