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Pop Culture and Linguistics—Is That, Like, a Thing Now?

Chapter in book
Authors Joe Trotta
Published in The Language of Pop Culture / edited by Valentin Werner
ISBN 978-1-315-16821-0
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication New York
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Language en
Keywords Linguistics, Socioinguistics, Popular Culture, Pop Culture, Media Language, Cultural Studies
Subject categories Specific Languages, Languages and Literature


The present chapter asks whether the study of language in pop culture requires modifications of existing linguistic approaches. Language in pop culture is often different from the data one might typically use for linguistic research: scripted language reflects ordinary spoken language, but it is not the same thing; song texts allow structures considered ungrammatical or infelicitous in ordinary speech, but which are normal in their context; the marriage of text and image so common in advertising, Internet websites, comics/graphic novels adds other semiotic elements that are not easily amenable in current linguistic models. All in all, if one wishes to better understand the mutual interaction between pop culture and ordinary language use, there is little in the analytical toolbox with which to work. From this perspective, I make the case that, in linguistic studies of pop culture artifacts, a more nuanced and flexible research perspective needs to be considered, which, where relevant, draws on various scholarly disciplines such as media studies (e.g., an awareness of the systems and conventions that affect text production), cultural studies (in particular, of pop culture), and theoretical concepts/theories such as mediatization, mutual feedback and Social Cognitive Theory.

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