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Corpus-based Analysis on Gendered Items in Hip-hop and Country Song Lyrics ×
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Corpus-based Analysis on Gendered Items in Hip-hop and Country Song Lyrics
Jihye Shin
Northern Arizona Univ., USA
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Song lyrics reflect the society linguistically and ideologically and in turn have a social and linguistic power to influence the society. Thus, lyrics can be used to gain insights into social beliefs, namely gender representations and stereotypes. This study sets out to investigate the representations of male and female in lyrics using a corpus-based approach. Focusing on the lemmas GIRL, WOMAN, BOY, and MAN, it examines what these gender-marked items refer to and the way males and females are portrayed in hip-hop and country music. The results show that the lemmas refer to a number of different things that are not limited to their literal meanings. In fact, some of them may not even be easily found in the definitions provided in the dictionary. Although they frequently refer to adult males and females in the lyrics of both types of music, it was revealed that some uses of the lemmas were unique to a particular music genre. Additionally, stereotypical representations of gender seem to prevail in song lyrics; although some differences can be found across music genres, females are often sexually objectified and are associated with beauty and emotional intemperance whereas males are portrayed as active, aggressive, and confident. This suggests that, as a type of text that reflects social beliefs, lyrics can be useful for raising awareness of the aspects of society, such as prevalent gender stereotypes. Therefore, lyrics may be used as an authentic material that contains rich sociolinguistic information on gender representations for linguistic and cultural lessons.
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