Musical genres exhibit distinct sociophonetic targets: An analysis of Quebec French


  • Kaitlyn Owens Indiana University -Bloomington



sociophonetics, language variation, Quebec French, Laurentian French, music, sociolects


Genres such as indie (Beal 2009) and hip-hop (Eberhardt & Freeman 2015) feature dialectal traits in English, but whether genres form targets distinct from speech remains unclear. We examine genre effects on phonetic variation in Quebec French music by probing the role of genres (pop, country, alternative, and indie) on laxing and diphthongization, processes characteristic of Quebec French (Walker 1984). Stigma facing formal varieties of Quebec French has vanished within dialect (Kircher 2012), yet remains for processes that vary regionally or socioeconomically (Côté 2012; Côté & Lancien, 2019). Whereas laxing is categorical and non-stigmatized (Côté 2012; Paradis & Dolbec, 1998), diphthongization is variable and stigmatized (Côté 2012). We use a novel corpus of ten Québécois singers who released multiple albums from 2011-2021 (29 albums; 326 songs). We find the emergence of genre-specific linguistic norms distinct from speech and argue that genres in music parallel sociolects.




How to Cite

Owens, Kaitlyn. 2023. “Musical Genres Exhibit Distinct Sociophonetic Targets: An Analysis of Quebec French”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 8 (1): 5490.