Dr. Lisa Jansen

Professur für Variationslinguistik (Prof. Deuber)
Dr. Lisa Jansen

Johannisstr. 12-20, Room 307
48143 Münster
lisa.jansen@wwu.de

External Profile:

  • Doctoral Thesis

    English rock and pop performances: A sociolinguistic investigation of British and American language perceptions and attitudes

    Supervisors

    https://doi.org/10.1075/impact.51


     
    This book addresses the phenomenon of non-American rock and pop singers emulating an Americanized singing style for performance purposes. By taking a novel approach to this pop cultural trend and drawing attention to the audience, British and American students’ perceptions of English rock and pop performances were elicited. Interviews guided by various music clips were conducted and analyzed through a detailed qualitative content analysis. The interviewees' responses provide important insights into social meanings attached to Americanized voices and local British accents in the respective genres and show how British and American attitudes toward these performance accents differ. These perceptions and attitudes are illustrated by developing associative fields which offer a fresh view on the notion of indexicalities.
    An engaging folk linguistic investigation of a relatable everyday pop culture phenomenon, this book makes complex sociolinguistic phenomena easily approachable and qualitative research accessible. It is suitable for intermediate students onward and inspires further research projects in the field of language performances.

  • Teaching

  • Publications

    • Jansen, Lisa. . English rock and pop performances: A sociolinguistic investigation of British and American language perceptions and attitudes. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/impact.51.
    • Jansen, Lisa; Gerfer, Anika. . ‘The Arctic Monkeys live at the Royal Albert Hall: Investigating Turner’s “lounge singer shimmer”.’ In Stylistic Approaches to Pop Culture, edited by V. Werner & C. Schubert, .. New York: Routledge. [online first]
    • Jansen Lisa, Westphal Michael. . Caribbean identity in pop music: Rihanna’s and Nicki Minaj’s multivocal pop personas. Kingston: The University of the West Indies Press. [online first]
    • Westphal, Michael, Jansen, Lisa. . ‘English in Global Pop Music.’ In Bloomsbury World Englishes Volume 1: Paradigms, edited by Schneider, Britta, Heyd, Theresa, Saraceni, Mario, 190-206. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. doi: 10.5040/9781350065833.0020.
    • Jansen Lisa. . ‘“Britpop is a thing, damn it”: On British attitudes towards American English and an Americanized singing style.’ In The Language of Pop Culture, edited by Werner Valentin, 116-135. New York: Routledge.
    • Jansen Lisa, Westphal Michael. . ‘Rihanna works her multivocal pop persona: A morpho-syntactic and accent analysis of Rihanna's singing style.’ English Today 33, No. 2: 46-55. doi: 10.1017/S0266078416000651.
    • Jansen, Lisa, Padberg-Schmitt, Britta. . „Deutsch-Englischer Sprachvergleich.“ In Multikulturelles Deutschland im Sprachvergleich. Das Deutsche im Fokus der am meisten kommunizierten Migrantensprachen: Handbuch für DaF- Lehrende und Studierende, für Pädagogen und Erzieher, herausgegeben von Leontiy, Halyna, 47-75. Münster: LIT Verlag.
  • Talks

    • Jansen, Lisa; Gerfer Anika (): ‘The Arctic Monkeys live at the Royal Albert Hall: Investigating Turner's 'lounge singer shimmer'’. Lecture Series Hotspots in Literary/Cultural Studies and Linguistics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany, .
    • Jansen, Lisa (): ‘Performance and perception: Exploring linguistic stylization in English pop and rock’. International Conference, Stylistic Approaches to Pop Culture, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany/Online, .
    • Jansen, Lisa (): ‘Associative fields: A closer look at perceptions of English rock and pop performances’. Lecture Series Hotspots in Literary/Cultural Studies and Linguistics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany, .
    • Jansen, Lisa; Westphal, Michael (): ‘Performing Caribbean identity in pop music: Rihanna & Nicki Minaj’. 2nd Bremen Student Conference in English Linguistics, University of Bremen, Germany, .
    • Jansen, Lisa; Gerfer, Anika (): ‘The Arctic Monkeys then and now’. 8th Biennial International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany, .
    • Jansen, Lisa (): ‘“It’s more common for Brits to sound American” British and American perceptions of music performances.’ 2nd International Conference on Sociolinguistics: Insights from Superdiversity, Complexity and Multimodality , Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, .
    • Jansen, Lisa; Westphal, Michael (): ‘Caribbean queen? Rihanna and Nicki Minaj’s multivocal pop personas’. Münsters Wissen frisch gezapft!, University of Münster, Germany, .
    • Jansen, Lisa; Westphal, Michael (): ‘Caribbean queen? Rihanna and Nicki Minaj’s multivocal pop personas’. Lecture Series Hotspots in Literary/Cultural Studies and Linguistics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany., .
    • Jansen, Lisa; Westphal, Michael (): ‘Caribbean queen? Rihanna and Nicki Minaj’s multivocal pop personae’. 7th Biennial International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English, University of Vigo, Spain, .
    • Jansen Lisa (): ‘"Where are they from?" British and American perceptions of music performances’. 7th Biennal International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English (BICLCE), Universidade de Vigo, Vigo, Spain, .
    • Jansen Lisa (): ‘Attitudes towards English pop and rock performances’. 1st International Conference on Sociolinguistics. Insights from Superdiversity, Complexity and Multimodality, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary, .
    • Jansen L (): ‘Attitudes towards English pop and rock performances’. Sociolinguistics Symposium 21, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain, .
    • Jansen Lisa (): ‘British attitudes towards an 'American accent' in English pop and rock performances’. The Sociolinguistics of Globalisation, University of Hong Kong, Hongkong, China, .
    • Jansen Lisa (): ‘Performance and attitudes: The sociolinguistics of English pop and rock music’. Lecture Series: Hotspots in Literary/Cultural Studies and Linguistics, WWU Münster, Münster, Deutschland, .
  • Research Areas

    • Sociolinguistics (of performance)
    • Variation linguistics
    • Folk linguistics, perceptual dialectology, language attitudes
    • Language & the media
    • World Englishes in pop culture
    • Qualitative content analysis
  • Projects

    In cooperation with Anika Gerfer:
    Funny or offensive? Performance and perceptions of stereotypes in “Jamaican Countdown”

    • BBC Three (2020, August 21). Jamaican Countdown | Famalam: Brand New Series 3 Coming To iPlayer [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved April 20, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdys7jKUOaE

    In 2020, the BBC released their new sketch series Famalam starring Black British actors. The clip “Jamaican Countdown” openly displays stereotypes about Jamaicans, i.e., they are portrayed as being musical, highly sexualized, well-endowed, undisciplined, uneducated, and stoned, has sparked off a heated public debate.

    Previous research on the appropriation and performance of Jamaican Creole (JC) e.g. in reggae and dancehall music (Gerfer 2018, Westphal 2018) showed that non-Jamaican singers only use a limited range of some stereotypical phonetic and morphosyntactic features of JC as well as lexical items of the creole register Dread Talk (Pollard 2000). Lopez and Hinrichs (2017) analyzed the appropriation of JC by a European American character in a VW Super Bowl commercial. They found that the linguistic representation is restricted to stereotypical features which would be identified by an American viewership. Additionally, the actor’s language use and his non-verbal performance index images of “the dreadlock-wearing Jamaican Rastaman” (Lopez & Hinrichs 2017: 140) as well as associated social practices such as smoking marijuana.

    Performance
    Our study addresses the following research questions: 1. How do the actors perform JC in “Jamaican Countdown”?, and 2. Which cultural stereotypes are portrayed and how? To answer these research questions, we conducted a qualitative linguistic analysis, focusing on the actors’ use of JC phonetic, morphosyntactic, and lexical features, and a multimodal analysis of the content, the actors’ outward appearance, their gestures and facial expressions, as well as background music. The results show that the use of JC in “Jamaican Countdown” is remarkably accurate and not only based on few stereotypical features. This ‘authentic’ use of JC may only be intelligible to audience members who are familiar with the language. However, viewers do not necessarily need to understand JC to understand the sketch but be able to recognize the displayed cultural stereotypes.

    Perception
    Lopez and Hinrichs (2017) showed that different audiences interpreted the VW Super Bowl commercial through various ‘terministic screens’ (Burke 1966), i.e., different ‘cultural lenses’: While US-Americans of color perceived it negatively through a racially highly sensitive terministic screen, Jamaican audiences reacted rather favorably through an inclusive ideology lens.

    The aim of our study is to investigate how the audience perceives the actors’ performances in “Jamaican Countdown” by conducting a qualitative content analysis (Kuckartz 2012) of YouTube comments addressing the portrayal of JC and cultural stereotypes. In contrast to the language performance in the Super Bowl commercial, the use of JC in “Jamaican Countdown” is remarkably accurate and not only based on few stereotypical features. It can therefore be expected that while negative voices will occur, the majority of Jamaican viewers might appreciate the skillful portrayal of their language and overall consider the performance of cultural stereotypes as humorous.

    References

    • Burke, Kenneth. 1966. Language as symbolic action: Essays on life, literature, and method. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    • Gerfer, Anika. 2018. Global reggae and the appropriation of Jamaican Creole. World Englishes 37(4), 668–683.
    • Kuckartz, Udo. 2012. Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Methoden, Praxis, Computerunterstützung. Basel: Beltz Juventa.
    • Lopez, Qiuana & Lars Hinrichs. 2017. ‘C’mon, get happy’: The commodification of linguistic stereotypes in a Volkswagen Super Bowl Commercial. Journal of English Linguistics 45(2). 130-156.
    • Pollard, Velma. 2000. Dread Talk: The language of Rastafari. Canoe Press.
    • Westphal, Michael. 2018. Pop culture and the globalization of non-standard varieties of English: Jamaican Creole in German reggae subculture. In V. Werner (Ed.), The language of pop culture (pp. 97–115). Routledge.