• A Certain Romance: Style shifting in the language of Alex Turner in Arctic Monkeys songs 2006-2018

      Flanagan, Paul; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-03-15)
      This paper reports on a diachronic study of the language employed by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner in his songs over a 13-year period. The analysis adapts Simpson’s (1999) USA- 5 model for studying accent in vocal performance, and focuses on the realisation of three phonological variables and two dialect variables in a 16,000-word corpus of 69 songs across all six albums released by the band. Hailing from High Green, Sheffield, Turner speaks with a vernacular Yorkshire accent, and the band’s early appeal (particularly in northern England) is often accredited partially to their authentic down-to-earth image, content and performance. Throughout their career, the band have evolved in terms of their musical genre and style, and, having recorded their first two albums in England, later albums were recorded and produced mostly in Los Angeles. Simpson’s model is modified in order to analyse trends in usage of five linguistic variables with non-standard variants iconic of northern British identity, with a view to analysing how Turner’s changing linguistic practice relates to his affiliation with vernacular and institutional norms, and thus his performance of different identities within songs. Keywords: Accent, Arctic Monkeys, dialect, identity, northern English, non-standard, vernacular