Rock and Rhotic Transcript

Carrie Gillon
Hi and welcome to the Vocal Fries Podcast, the podcast about linguistic discrimination.

Megan Figueroa
I’m Megan Figueroa.

Carrie Gillon
And I’m Carrie Gillon. And today we have a very exciting guest, Dr. Bob Kennedy, who is yet another Canadian linguist. Which we forgot to mention in the actual main part of that episode but…

Megan Figueroa
Do you all have like a like a Google Doc? Where you just like all chat with each other or something?

Carrie Gillon
No, but Canadians do all know other Canadians because

Megan Figueroa
No, I know. Remember, when I was just a wee- a wee girl in your in one of your classes I like first class I took with you, I went up to you after class and asked you if you knew so-and-so. And then I got really embarrassed and I was like, I’m sorry. I don’t think all Canadians know each other.

Carrie Gillon
Who did you ask me about? I do not remember this conversation.

Megan Figueroa
Andrew Kartney.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, yeah. And I didn’t I didn’t know him yet.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah yeah. But you heard of him.

Carrie Gillon
Of course.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Of course.

Megan Figueroa
But I think that once it came out my mouth I was like, I really do think all Canadian linguists know each other.

Carrie Gillon
A great percentage of Canadian linguists do know each other. Yes. Or at least we know of each other.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. No, it’s- it’s an exciting episode because it’s kind of different.

Carrie Gillon
There’s so many music clips in it. It’s so fun.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. It’s a fun episode. So happy summer bitches.

Carrie Gillon
I love it.

Megan Figueroa
So I just- I was like, I was on Twitter. Yeah, I was on Twitter. And I saw that there’s this new podcast. And I’m not like saying listen to it, but this is why it caught my attention. It’s from Cricket media. And it’s called Hysteria.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Like with an exclamation point.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
And when I went to it on the iTunes preview, it describes it as this: “Political commentator and comedy writer Aaron Ryan is joined by a bi-coastal squad of opinionated mouthy women to discuss blah blah blah.” So I love it. They’re like totally, I guess like we call it like reclaiming the word hysteria.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
And mouthy and opinionated.

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
So it’s great. I was just… I thought that was a fun thing to see today. Those are all things that are associated with women negatively, of course. So yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. And she’s really great whenever she’s like, guest on Pod Save America. So…

Megan Figueroa
Her Twitter’s great. I mean…

Carrie Gillon
Yes. I’ve been following it for a while now. Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It should be good.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Speaking of podcasts, I was just listening to Atlanta Monster. And the newest episodes a Live episode, but Maurice the private investigator from Up and Vanished? He was talking about how he was worried that his accent would actually damage the Up and Vanished podcast. And my heart broke…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And then said, “but then it turned out it actually helped it” and I– and my heart soared.

Megan Figueroa
What an emotional roller coaster!

Carrie Gillon
But I was just like, exactly this is– it’s so problematic. And you know, I didn’t know this until today, he has a PhD. A man with a PhD was insecure about his accent because it’s Southern. So anyway.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah, there was like a New York Times opinion piece by– written by a woman who was saying that she was afraid for her young son who has a southern drawl– she says– if he’ll be discriminated against. It’s real.

Carrie Gillon
It’s real.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And it might be worse for men because, you know, men are just going to be interpreted as being racist and sexist, I think with that accent. As we talked about before.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Although, I don’t know if anyone’s already listened to the latest My Favorite Murder if they’re fans but Karen describes a– talks about an Appalachian Trail murder, and she’s, she’s talked so positively about like…

Carrie Gillon
That’s true. That’s true, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
So you also get the like, the ‘good old boy’ kind of thing.

Carrie Gillon
Although ‘good old boy’ has a very specific meaning, and she meant it in a different way than I think it means now.

Megan Figueroa
Oh. Ok.

Carrie Gillon
Like when I think of a good boy– like she actually started to like say it like but in a good way because ‘good old boy’ kind of has this like… you get to protect your other fellow– like it’s like an old boys club kind of thing.

Megan Figueroa
Oh. Oh, I don’t have that. I see- I can see that.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. I have a slightly negative–well, actually very negative interpretation for ‘good old boy.’

Megan Figueroa
Well, she totally didn’t mean that.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, no, she didn’t but she did correct herself as she said “but in a good way” because she knew the other definition existed.

Megan Figueroa
Okay, maybe- maybe a generational thing.

Carrie Gillon
Maybe.

Megan Figueroa
But also just a plug for own podcast, you should listen to if you enjoyed hearing about the Appalachian Trail, listen to our episode of Paul– Dr. Paul. Read, because he is a delight.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
And it’s not because of his accent. But his accent is fantastic because everyone’s accent’s fantastic. But, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And also he taught us how to say Appalachian correctly, which Karen didn’t.

Megan Figueroa
I know because Appalachian is the way he described people that would come in, right, like the…

Carrie Gillon
Carpetbagger kind of thing.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I didn’t know before that because…

Megan Figueroa
No! I mean, how would we?

Carrie Gillon
I mean… yeah, as a Canadian, how would I- how would I know?

Megan Figueroa
And as an American, how would I care about anyone but myself?

Carrie Gillon
That makes me cry. Okay. I wanted to talk about this Rachel Bloom, Neil Patrick Harris kerfuffle– let’s like put it– and I didn’t know because I wasn’t, I don’t know. It just didn’t come into my Twitter feed or I wasn’t on Twitter, I’m not sure. But apparently, Neil Patrick Harris, posted “Who was the woman in a top hat backstage at the Tony Awards? Gideon remarked that she says ‘like’ and ‘oh my god’ a lot. I’m confused.” So let’s start with the linguistic stuff.

Megan Figueroa
Yea- yeah.

Carrie Gillon
How dare a woman say ‘like’ or ‘oh my god.’

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
How dare we?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I just was like, it was- it was so upsetting that he did this.

Megan Figueroa
I know. I mean, are you a fan?

Carrie Gillon
I like him.

Megan Figueroa
I mean, you expect more from him almost?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, he seemed like a like a– you know– on the scale of things, a pretty decent guy. But– and I- you know, in the grand scheme of things, this is obviously not that big of a deal, but it’s just- it’s one of those little drip-drip-drips about- of all the sexism that we have to deal with. It’s just one of the many drips. And so it was just really upsetting that he thought that this was an acceptable thing to complain about.

Megan Figueroa
I know. If- I was thinking the ‘oh my God’ thing. I guess it goes back to like, a stereotypical view of valley girl?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
I don’t know like what- what’s so upsetting about that? I mean, I guess I know Catholics don’t love it.

Carrie Gillon
Well.

Megan Figueroa
There are some very religious people that don’t love. I don’t know– is that taking the Lord’s name in vain?

Carrie Gillon
Yes, of course it is! [both laugh] Even I know that. Yeah, I mean, yeah. So you’re a really- pretty strong Christian of any faith, any variety of it, yeah, you probably shouldn’t be saying it. But I don’t think that’s based on…

Megan Figueroa
No, that’s not– no, that’s not at all what he’s talking about.

Carrie Gillon
If- for him. It’s just more of a silly girly thing, I think.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. And then the like, we’ve talked about it.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. We’ve already talked about like.

Megan Figueroa
People don’t want women to say like.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, even though it’s totally fine and men do it too. And so stop- stop it!

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, we love like. We’ve already said it.

Carrie Gillon
And then, on top of that, turns out, he knows her.

Megan Figueroa
I know.

Carrie Gillon
I guess he didn’t recognize her? Cuz I don’t- I don’t think he’s that mean that he would have shaded her like that. You know what I mean? Like,

Megan Figueroa
Yeah yeah. No, I don’t think he recognized her. And…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
They’ve met a lot.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, at least a few times. And…

Megan Figueroa
Yea- yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Anyway.

Megan Figueroa
But, yeah! It doesn’t feel great.

Carrie Gillon
No.

Megan Figueroa
When you know, you’ve met someone multiple times.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah. And I know, like, I know that he’s a lot more famous than she is, but still it was…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Icky.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Anyway.

Megan Figueroa
Housekeeping.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, a couple pieces of housekeeping. So, a reminder that we’re going to be at the Potern Love Convention in New Orleans, August 10 to 12th, and we hope that at least some of you can make it.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I’m looking forward to being in New Orleans again.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, or have a drink with us or something. We were gonna have a little meetup if there are people.

Carrie Gillon
And I definitely recommend not having the purple drink.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s a dangerous drink. But yeah, if you’re around, and if you’re gonna go, let us know, and we’d love to get some beignets or get a drink…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Something. And then the second piece of housekeeping is, we had two new patrons last month that we want to thank Helen Nolan, and someone who wishes to remain anonymous. And the only reason why I’m bringing that up is because I want people to know that if they want to remain anonymous, they don’t want to be thanked on our podcast, absolutely just let us know. And we will, we will respect your wishes. So thank you, anonymous person.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And I think that’s it. So, I hope you enjoy this musical episode.

Megan Figueroa
Yay!

Carrie Gillon
It was super fun.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I know. [music]

Carrie Gillon
Okay, so today we have Bob- Dr. Bob Kennedy from the University of California, Santa Barbara with us to talk about music, linguistics and music, which we’ve never touched on before, so I’m pretty excited about that. So he’s a lecturer at Santa Barbara, and he’s also been on Jeopardy.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, what?!

Carrie Gillon
You didn’t know that?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
[at same time] You didn’t know that?

Carrie Gillon
I thought I told you!

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I don’t go around telling everybod,y but I did put it on the back of the textbook that I wrote because part of the author bio.

Carrie Gillon
As you should.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I mean, I was interviewed for NPR’s all things considered once, and I put it on like my bios everywhere, so I totally get that. I feel like I’m gonna- it’s gonna be on my gravestone. But yeah, so we had Alex Darcy, who was an answer– or question on Jeopardy. And now we have the…

Dr. Bob Kennedy
She was part of the question.

Megan Figueroa
And now we have a contestant. Very exciting.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Maybe one day, you can get a producer or even a host to talk on your show.

Carrie Gillon
Ooh, that would be exciting. Hey jeopardy, if you want to get on the show, let us know. So you’re a linguist.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
As all… most of our guests are, but you call yourself a hobbyist as a musician. So what does that mean?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
So I have been playing music since I was a teenager. I went through that stage in adolescence where I discovered that there was more than what was played on the radio, I guess you could say? And so you know, that’s the age where people start to identify with a particular genre of music that they really enjoy. I guess at the time, I wanted to learn to play some of the songs as well, so I didn’t have music training, but I taught myself a lot about… stuff having to do with musical composition and instrumentation and stuff. And I don’t think ever got to be a very good musician, but I tried to keep track of a lot of, I guess, information and details about a lot of different genres and I went through probably a couple of different phases of musical fandom, I guess, over the course of the following decades, and so forth. And I guess I’ve always found myself paying attention to- to details in songs, the way that a linguist would pay attention to details just in any sort of performed or naturally occurring speech of any other type. So because of that, I feel like I’ve- I’ve kind of accumulated a fair amount of knowledge about just a wide variety of different styles of music, even though I don’t- I don’t like all varieties of music. I definitely have tastes. But when I talk about it from this point of view, I tend to be basically objective and descriptive about it at the same time. Since we’re talking about music, and people often have very strong opinions just about quality of music, and their tastes and genres and so forth, it’s kind of it’s a risky territory to get into because you always have the chance that the listener or group of listeners will will respond in a way that they suggest something like- like I can’t believe you didn’t mention so-and-so, or I can’t believe you did mention so-and-so, and so I don’t mean to either unfairly include or exclude any particular artist in whatever it is that we talk about today. And I wouldn’t say that we should only talk about people who are really commercially widely known or the opposite. I mean, both kind of branches of musical fame, I think are worth looking into in a lot of detail. But anyway, as a hobbyist, I guess, to go back to original question, it’s just I’ve paid a lot of attention to a lot of different things along the way. And so, we could talk about modern pop music, we could talk about classic rock, we can talk about r&b, we can talk about American music, British music, we could acknowledge the fact that there’s that unfortunate binary of American versus British music when in the English speaking world, there’s a bunch of other nations who have their own, you know, entire cultures of performers and so forth. So, all of that to pay attention to I guess, stuff that we can turn to. But- But hobbyist is something that I’d have to call myself because I never got like formal training in the way that I did for linguistics.

Megan Figueroa
Right. I was I was gonna ask when you- when you started to couple the linguist with the hobbyist.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
You know, I think it was relatively later? I do remember so… Probably two different phases. One of them early on, like when I was a young adult, I used to try to compose and record music, and it wasn’t that great, and I don’t have the recordings to share with you, so I’ll spare you.

Carrie Gillon
Darn it!

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I’ll see if I can dig them up. But, I remember– No, I don’t actually have recordings of the vocal stuff. But I remember at the time when I was trying to see if I could sing over music that I had composed, thinking about whether I should drop my r’s or not in song. And it is such a huge relative variable across so many different genres. So I- so by dropping r’s for some of your audience, they might be familiar exactly what I mean by that. The technical term would be to whether- whether to be robotic or not whether to go non robotic or employ rhoticity. Either way, it’s whether you pronounce the r’s at the end of syllables. So, do you say heart and start or do you say hot and staut? And, you know, for all of us as our non northeastern United States, American accents or Canadian accents, we’re all rhotic, but many people when– even though they’ve got a rhotic accent when they sing, they go nonrhotic, which is kind of a big talking point that we could cover today. Remember at the time kind of thinking, I feel like that’s inauthentic? And I don’t even know if I had that word in my vocabulary at the time. But it occurred to me that people do this. And I just- I- so it was at least on my mind. But then later on through my graduate studies when I started looking more at accent variation and so forth, I kept coming across examples of discussions that people would have about the performativeness of dialect and accent. So I would start to notice a whole lot more about what people would do performatively whether they were trying to employ something other than their own dialect or accent when they performed and it’s actually- it’s something that you could talk about with pretty well any artist or any song in two years, like are they- are they using their own voice or not? So the potential data or range of data to look at is the entirety of song. It’s huge.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
So we can try to wrestle with the size of the data set here, too, but.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, even if you’re only talking about American and British songs, just a tiny part of what’s going on in the entire world, but even with just that, it’s huge.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes, definitely. Even- even just if you stick within the United States.

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Which is probably a reasonable starting point. But talking about just what happens amongst American performers, I think is really central to the entire discussion, but than the- the, the British angle, as a way of- of people from another nation, adopting and performing what it’s essentially a set of American genres, I think, informs the discussion about performativeness definitely.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, agreed.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
So I’d want to talk about both. Definitely.

Carrie Gillon
Yes. So let’s start with this, as you call it, folk linguistic myth. That accents disappear in song performance. I think that’s a really important thing. I think a lot of people believe that. So, can you talk about that and explain why that is a myth?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah. So I mean, do you- do you believe the myth or do you believe that it is a widely held belief?

Megan Figueroa
Both.

Carrie Gillon
I believe that it’s a widely held belief.

Megan Figueroa
Until I read this, I thought accents mostly disappeared. And I am a linguist.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I know but it’s- it’s a conclusion I think that’s a really reasonable thing for someone to jump to given what they hear in song. And if they are aware that someone has a certain way of speaking in terms of an accent or dialect, and they know about that when the person is not performing. And then they also hear that person perform, then of course, they think, well, the accent is gone. So there must be something about the act of singing itself that takes away the accent, and I don’t have the evidence collected in front of me to demonstrate this for you. But I think it’d be fairly easy to find like well publicized or widely published editorial pieces, where the writer who is not a linguist and maybe not even a musician either basically hashes the claim that music does this to people’s voices- that it makes them lose their accent- to maybe gravitate towards some- some central, unmarked, unaccented variety. Which of course, you all know, doesn’t- doesn’t really exist.

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Or there might be something like there’s something about singing that makes people sound American. And that might be something that comes out in the ideologies of British folk linguistics in particular. That- that music just does that. And so it probably bundles together with a bunch of ideologies that people have about variation in general that perhaps, you know, maybe they think of American voices as being somehow more primal. And therefore when you’re singing, you’re more primal and therefore you sound more American, and it makes no sense to us objectively, right? But it’s a just-so story that makes for a really nice narrative to explain what people see. And what people see is that often a performer has a different voice when they sing, compared to how they actually speak other words.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, so actually, I’m the first time I really thought about this was my dad told me hey look, if you hear British singers singing rock music, at least, they put on an American accent. But that’s the way he put it. So it wasn’t that there was no accent or that song always did this, it was very specific to a genre. So I think that helped me not buy into the myth that way.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes. Yeah. And there’s some well documented examples of that. So- some well executed research from Peter Tregloan his- his textbook on dialect that actually tracks a lot of this quantitatively with basically 1960s era British musicians and tried to measure the extent to which they adopt American structures. And it brings up another question, though, which is, what is it that we’re even detecting or measuring when we’re trying to make these evaluations? So a layperson audience might hear a singer and think, Oh, I see this person sounds American, or is sounding American or has lost their accent, but they don’t necessarily have the- the tools or the expertise to point out exactly what it is that the performer is or is not doing. And because of that, they actually can’t mesaure like the accuracy or the authenticity of the performance either. So what Tregloan did was, I think, much of that quantitative analysis had to do with whether the British performers would be- wrote a good song. The findings were that at least in some songs by some performers, British performers who were pretty well uniformly non rhotic in natural speech, would- would project rhoticity as they performed. And that’s one- That’s one fairly strong differentiation between British and American Englishes with the exception being that there are the rhotic British varieties, and then there’s the non rhotic American varieties. But the conceptualization that British performance have is that to be American, you should sound rhotic despite the fact that some Americans aren’t. And then, I don’t know if you track this other one, but the other one possible detail that- that and I know that there are British singers who to do this, is the extent to which they undo this splitting up of the- of the vowel that you hear in words like trap, that they don’t have the same vowel in words like bass or pass in class. Instead, they’ve got something more like gloss or pass. And it shows up in words like- like dance as well, which is, you know, we’re just going to show up in song a lot. So in southern British variety, it’ll show up as dogs, whereas in an American variety, it’ll show up as dance, and they actually think of this as an American innovation. Because I think that anything that Americans do is an innovation, but…

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
So whatever Americans do…

Megan Figueroa
it’s so true. We’ll take credit for everything.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I know. Yeah, sure, but it’s such a frustrating thing to have to deal with because with this particular variable, just like with rhoticity, these are, they’re in American English. Because they hadn’t happened yet at the kind of earliest phases of English colonization. So it’s kind of a last couple centuries London thing that has spread to some of England but not all England to do this. But at any rate, a British singer may or may not choose to adopt that American pattern and make all of their bath and pass and dance vowels the same as their trap vowels or not. I can’t recall whether Tregloan tracked this particular thing. But I think that some of the performers that he would have been talking about in his analysis did this- Americanize their bath vowel in their performance. And so we’re talking about performers like Rolling Stones and the Beatles and in The Who, that era of widely know, widely famous British musicians. [music rolls]

Megan Figueroa
Yeah and thinking of myself as the ignorant bystander, I had no idea the Rolling Stones were British for a very long time.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
That- I mean speaks a lot to what it is that Mick Jagger does when he performs, and he- I think he is a little bit different from the Beatles- well, I mean, of course, he’s very different from the Beatles in a lot of different ways. But one of them is the particular choice or performance that he goes for. So in the work of the Beatles, there’s variability in what they target from song to song. So some of the songs are much more clearly meant to sound American and some of them are very much not intended to sound that way. [music rolls]

With the- the singers, whether it’s John or Paul doing this, making use of things like employing rhoticity or not, but they were going for something I probably characterize it is more of a generally unidentifiable American genre, whereas in Mick Jagger’s case, I think a lot more of his performance really targets blackness in his voice. I think that really stands apart there. [music rolls]

Dr. Bob Kennedy
In part because he doesn’t use rhoticity in the way that the Beatles would sometimes use in some of their performances.

Megan Figueroa
And so that, for me brings up the issue of appropriation.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
So I guess two questions. How is he targeting blackness and what does that mean when it comes to appropriation of blackness?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah. It’s a- there’s a multitude of questions that come up out of this. And it’s, you know, he’s actually not the first person I would pick on as an example of appropriation of anything. And, you know, it’s a very good question to ask, what are the things that people use when they engage in an appropriation of an African American English variety as opposed to other American English varieties? And the features that people draw upon, depend a lot on what they’re aware of and how well they can do them and what they think is probably- what they believe to be accurate of their targeted variety kind of irrespective of whether they do it with some amount of accuracy, or not. So what- I guess you could call authentic African American English performances, whether it’s r&b or hip hop, the voices match the target, or the target matches the voice I guess you can say so by- by target, I mean, what is the genre that the performance trying to impart upon the music and the voice of the performer is, you know, their dialect or their accent as a background? And in a lot of kinds of genres of music, we can find that the performer is just using their own voice and not performing something other than their own- their own phonological and grammatical system, you could say. So that’s- that’s generally true of the entire range of r&b or just about the entire range of hip hop, where the performers are themselves African American, and actual speakers of at least one African American variety. At the same time, people who instead perform the variety without being authentic speakers outside of the context of the performance, are probably picking up on whatever features that they think they need to do to perform the variety, in the same way, or in a parallel way to what a British singer would do to try to perform a generally American variety. So they might not get all the features, but at the same time, they might do it passively enough that they would trick their audience into taking just by the sound of their voice that they’re black, by the sound of their accent. The question of what it is that they’re doing is one thing, the question of how well they can convince their audience is another question, and I think the the angle of appropriation, and the discussion is- is yet another one. I want to say generally, this is all appropriation that we’re talking about anytime any singer is is singing in an accent not his or her own then they’re appropriating. But the clearly problematic examples are the ones in which there’s a power differential between the background of the performer and the culture of the variety that they are appropriating when they’re doing the performance, and if that happens, then, that’s the- that’s clearly the more problematic type of appropriation that can happen. Especially if it ends up being the case that the people who get the most credit are the most acclaim within the genre, are people who are not actual speakers of the variety that you know, should have been associated with the origins of the genre in the first place.

Megan Figueroa
And so I’m immediately thinking of Justin Timberlake,

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Interesting that you bring that… Yes.

Megan Figueroa
Well, it’s actually not interesting if you knew me because big insync fan when I was about 10, so I’m always thinking about this, but yes, no, if 20 years ago, you told me, you know, 10 year old me that I’d be talking about Justin Timberlake on a podcast, I wouldn’t have no… Podcasts didn’t exist, so of course, this could have never happened. So yeah, no. I like– anytime Justin Timberlake performs, if I’m like on Twitter, I notice that people are calling him out for this specifically.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes. Yeah. And I think I can- it makes sense that people will call him out because they can detect this degree of linguistic appropriation in his performance.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
And it’s- if you did not know who he was, where he was from, or anything else about his- his background, and you heard him you might assume, just on the basis of his performance, that he was African American. Or you might not. Or you might not if, you know enough, you know, you might hear and go Okay, here’s someone trying to sound that way. It comes across then as a- as a textbook example of appropriation. I think it fits into that- that category then of the problematic type because of the fact that he has acquired so much fame and acclaim as a performer and as a singer, in part, performing in a variety of songs.

Carrie Gillon
Right. Can you give us an example of the features that he’s putting on?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah. So- so the things that he would be doing would be– and we have to come back to this again and again– he goes non rhotical when he performs and non rhoticity is at least a variable feature of many African American English varieties. Not all of them, and it’s not uniformly the case. But of the American varieties that are non rhotic or can be non rhotic, African American English, especially those most- are more closely associated with the American south, are non rhotic. And then in addition to that, I would say, some leveling out of diphthongs is the type you would also hear from Southern Americans so- so time [southern], instead of time [regular], which could be sort of a song driven rather than performative feature, but it nevertheless shows up in- in song like this, and it fits the performative model in this case. Also, I would say some monophthongization, I know that’s a technical term, but the- but something like a fairly steady state vowel as opposed to more of a contoured oh sound that you would probably hear in his own speech in an interview away from the context of actually performing. And so that’s actually- that particular feature is one that helps to separate or differentiate African American Englishes from other varieties of Southern American English.

Carrie Gillon
I did not know that.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah. Yeah. So those two things, I think we would do it. Maybe also some, and it’s hard to talk about this if we’re only really relying on sound in the podcast, but the low vowel space of on the one hand words with that ah vowel of trap versus the aw vowel of lot and then the the other aw vowel of thought which for the three of us is the same as lot.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
So how that thought vowel is employed differs across the Northeast to the South to the rest of the nation. And if somebody says something like on or off or un or ouff, those are things that one could employ as part of their performativeness. Also what somebody does with the a vowel of trap, they say something like trap [harsher] Or if they say the a vowel of stop in something or in stop or lot, then that is- that is something that really really suddenly could show up in a performance and it’s harder to identify, I think for everybody as opposed to something like rhoticity or anything else but I’m thinking of– what’s that– not the current song but that the song from Trolls.

Megan Figueroa
I don’t know.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Can’t stop this feeling. [music rolls]

Megan Figueroa
Oh, okay. I do know song.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Every time I hear it, I just focus on the way that he says that word ‘stop’. [music rolls]

And it sounds to me like he’s really targeting an accent not his own- an African American accent producing that particular vowel there. So there’s a range of different things he’s doing. It goes beyond rhoticity, and it certainly goes beyond word choice and anything else like that. Maybe another thing to point out is that I would imagine a lot of people assume that the- the most obvious markers are saying things like singing instead of singing. So changing that final consonant, you know, which is less of a regional marker than a formality marker, but that might be something people believe to be what is going on, but that’s probably one of the least relevant things in that kind of performance.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, cuz you hear that also in country music or, you know yeah, just informal speech, like you said.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Everywhere.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, everywhere. Yeah. So I would like to talk about Iggy- Iggy Azalea. Because that’s another example of this. And she seems to perform it even more than Justin Timberlake.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Oh, way more. Yeah, I think- I actually I mean, I don’t certainly mean to apologize for Justin Timberlake, but he’s- he’s somewhere between the two. He’s somewhere between Mick Jagger and Iggy Azalea. And I think that I think that in Timberlake’s case, I’m coming at this from someone who doesn’t feel like the direct effect of the appropriation, but I- I have got the sense that he doesn’t like deny the- the blackness of his attempt of performance. He- he acknowledges the fact that he leans on this- this appropriation. He doesn’t use that word, but I think he’s aware of, you know, the- the source of what he blurts. Does that makes sense?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
And I think in Iggy Azalea’s case, it’s much- much more unapologetic, and I think that- I think that tone deaf would be kind of a euphemism for her own attitude about- about what she does. And what she does is actually far, far deeper phonologically in terms of her performance. And again, I don’t think I’m in a position to evaluate whether she she nails it and does it like perfectly accurately, but what she employs linguistically in her performance is- is a much more obvious example of someone who was not black trying to sound black in their performance. [music rolls]

Carrie Gillon
And she sort sounds more specific too? Like I don’t know which variety it is, but I don’t know because I’m not an expert in this at all. But she sounds more targeted of a particular variety, whereas Justin Timberlake is more like Pan African American English.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I think that’s a fair statement. Yeah. I think that she goes for something that’s a more urban variety that we more closely associate with what we hear in modern hip hop as opposed to what we hear in modern r&b. And that actually is, I think, a really relevant point that distinguishes the two types in that what Timberlake does is- is he’s not a hip hop performer. He’s not a rapper. He’s- he’s a singer. And the genres that he draws upon, both in his training, and what he tends to perform is more r&b in nature. Whereas what people like Iggy Azalea do– and Macklemore. That’s another name that we can throw in here at the same time. What performers like that do is they’re adopting a genre of hip hop that is closely associated with a particular language variety. And using language variety, I guess, intended with the appropriation just to the musical genre, independently of the linguistic appropriation. [music rolls]

And I was listening to Macklemore before we made this call, just to- just to see what was going on with him and it’s- it’s. It’s I think, really similar to what Iggy Azalea does. Maybe not quite as all in, but he does do a fair amount as well. And I don’t mean this as an insult to him. But he’s kind of like a modern day Vanilla Ice. [music rolls]

Carrie Gillon
How can you not mean that as an insult?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Well- so I mean, clearly he’s a better performer, and he is a better artist, and he’s got better production behind him.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, that’s true.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
But the same type of appropriation was there in the work of Vanilla Ice that here’s this person, who was clearly of a background that had nothing to do with the modern African American experience, performing an African American genre, a new one, a relatively new one at the time and adopting an African American voice as he did so.

Megan Figueroa
And I don’t know if you have any thoughts on this, but with that, would Eminem be different than Macklemore? Because Eminem has this experience growing up around African American English and being in Detroit?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah, I think it’s fair to- to put Eminem in kind of a different group and actually kind of put him in the category of hip hop performers who perform in their own voice. And so it’s not as obvious an example of appropriation in his case because he’s not really appropriating. It could be mistaken for that if you just look at it, but if you know about his background, and everything else like that than he’s not performing something different from what he himself as a speaker brings to the table.

Megan Figueroa
Right. [music rolls]

Carrie Gillon
I want to know what you think about… What does it count to sound country?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
So what so country music is obviously very culturally closely associated with the south and with Nashville. Many of its kind of founding musicians were southerners and performed in southern voices. And so I think that the modern laypersons conception of country music is that the singer should sound southern when they sing. And it’s such a strong association that if you look at the types of dialect maps that people draw in a perceptual Dialectology task of the type that Dennis Preston has people do, then sometimes what they will actually do is- is. This isn’t– okay, so this is a task where you’re just given a map of the place like the United States, and you divide it up into regions- based on how they speak differently- and then you label the region’s however you want. So it’s not meant to really get information about real varieties. It’s meant to get information about attitudes that people have about regional varieties, irrespective of whether their conceptualizations are accurate or not. And a common thing that shows up on these types of maps that when people mark off the wouth, which they always do, there’s always a southern section in a map like this. They often labele them with terms like “country.” So there are people out there, a non trivial number of Americans, who think of a southern accent as a country accent- as the same thing as a country accent. So I think that performance of country music involves performance of a southern accent, and in particular, you could even call it a hyper rhoticity. Because modern American Southern accents are rhotic. And have- I mean, traditionally they were non rhotic, but they have undergone this- this process of restoration of r and it shows up in words therefore like start and heart like I said before, and it can even end up with what you would call asses with alaric pronunciation where a word like four would instead sound more like fo-er with– it sounds like almost two beats of a song that syllable is what happens– asses with alaric means, so country performers have ended up including rhoticity perhaps even overemphasizing it in their performance to such an extent that I think now if you are an American singer be heavily rhotic sounds like they either are hamming it up or being campy, or they’re definitely attempting to sound like country music. So- so we’ll- we’ll need to get back to that appropriation discussion I think at some point here because of the fact that a lot of other American music that is neither r&b nor hip hop, but also neither country ends up being non rhotic as well for probably reasons of appropriation, and I have- I’ve seen this written and I have heard this spoken. I can’t remember names to attribute it to. But there’s an argument out there the country music has become markedly over rhoticized in a sense to distinguish it from all other varieties of American English, which are non rhotic, in part, ough this mechanism of appropriating African American speech. So it’s as if it actually makes it hyper white. It overemphasizes the whiteness of the music to make it extra rhotic. And that’s kind of a critical cultural analysis, but it makes sense that the music part of the country is so tied together with particular types of conservative values and so forth that it wouldn’t be a surprise that if there was any variety in which this overwhelming sensation would, would happen. It would be country music.

Carrie Gillon
Right and I would expect it to be, you’d be able to tell how conservative the singer is just based on that. Because there are country singers who are not conservative.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Right.

Carrie Gillon
And so I would expect based on this that they would not be hyper rhoticizing.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
That would be really interesting to look at. Yeah, that’s- that’s yeah. The genre is marked by you know, the content of the lyrics pertaining to the things that country music singer sing about, you know, I want to say tractors and barbecues and stuff like that, but…

Megan Figueroa
Horses.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
More than that, you know, sentimentality, everything else, and tradition and so forth. And I know that’s probably a gross over generalization of the content. The musical content involves, you know, particularly musical styles and a slide steel guitar, sometimes, violin accompaniments, strummed acoustic guitars and accompanied also by electric guitars, but that’s- that probably is enough to make a song sound country. But then if you overlay it with the linguistic performance, then it’s like- it’s extra country as well. There’s examples also of country music appropriators that we could talk about.

Carrie Gillon
Sure.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
That kind of demonstrate the same sort of process and so something like you know Garth Brooks [music rolls] or Taylor Swift. People who are not from the south. [music rolls] Shania Twain is another example of this. [music] Keith Urban is actually a huge example of this.

Megan Figueroa
Ah, he’s Australian, right?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
He’s not even from the same continent, yes. [music] And so what they all do is- is employe this extra rhotic facet of performance when they perform. Most of them are rhotic anyway, soShania Twain is Garth Brooks is- he’s from I think Oregon. Taylor Swift is from the northeast. She does this more so when she’s in her country mode as opposed to when she’s in her Pop Music Mode. But when they do country performance they- it’s almost as if they lengthen, to some extent, some of those syllable final r consonants. As a part, I guess, of perhaps making the whole performance sound more authentic in the same way that- that let’s say Iggy Azalea. What if she were to perform hip hop, just in a really natural Australian accent or if Macklemore was to do this type of performance using his own accent? Like how would that come across? And it might be interesting, but it might make it sound like less, I guess, credible hip hop, in the same way that someone like Garth Brooks, if he’s trying to perform credible country music, he’s in this position where if he doesn’t also adopt the linguistic performance, same thing with Shania Twain, if she doesn’t adopt the linguistic performance than it doesn’t come across as- as like a member of the musical community, I guess, you can say. So the parallels are there. It’s just I think there’s no obvious power differential in the country music appropriation, whereas there’s an obvious power differential in the hip hop appropriation scenario.

Megan Figueroa
I’m kind of reminded I mean, they’re not considered country but Mumford and Sons.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes. [music]

Megan Figueroa
So they would be putting on performing, trying to sound like the genre, right, because they’re not American.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
Which I did not know.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Right. Okay.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
So they’re one of the few- I think they’re British, correct? I think they might even be Welsh.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, maybe. I know they’re… I think they’re British, but I’m not sure about the Welsh.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
And they’re- I believe that as speakers, they’re non rhotic. That’s my- that’s my memory. But they- they’re one of the few contemporary British performers that actually does use rhoticity when they sing. So, they’re- they’re actually one of the small examples of people who you can say like, well, you know, they actually they are trying to sound American. It’s not that they go accentless. It might be that some of their listenership believes that they go accentless to call back to how we started off the discussion, but they they appear to employ rhotcity, in a part, I think to gravitate towards the genre which they’re trying to perform, which is not quite country music. It’s country oriented. You know, there’s actually this cluster of- of folk and mountain derived music, of which country music is one, but it’s- it’s perhaps more kind of bluegrass driven, which is associated with the same part of the country or a similar part of the country, and probably an authentic bluegrass performer would sound more credible, if that performer sounded rhotically American, instead of non rhotically British.

Megan Figueroa
Right. And so that’s what they’re performing.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Exactly, yep.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah I looked it up and they’re from London, or at least that’s what they say they originated so.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Okay, there you go. To go back to Trougold’s analysis that was really making use of whether the performer is rhotic or not as a- as a way of gauging whether a singer was trying to sound American or not, the number of other performers that I’ve been able to notice myself who’ve done this is- is really small. Sometimes you’ll talk about performers who become rhotic as otherwise non rhotic British English speakers. The Beatles are our kind of data point in Trougold’s work that provide an example of this. Another example of this would have been Robert Plant when he was in Led Zeppelin. Not all of his work was like this, but a fair amount of what he performance was rhotic. So you can go back and hear words with syllable final r’s pronounced in them in contexts where you expect them not to be pronounced. [music] Like I said, not at all of his work does this. But other than that, there’s actually a really- really small number of people who do this. The other ones would be occasionally Sting [music].

Unknown Speaker
Than in Curtis of Georgia Vision actually, sometimes actually, quite invariably did this, and it’s- it’s not clear why, because he wasn’t really performing anything like a variety that you would say this is American music, and we’re trying to sound- trying to sound American when we do this, and he was a non rhotic speaker. But- But lots of- lots of r’s and sold a final position when he performed. [music]

Dr. Bob Kennedy
And that’s almost it. Other than that, I point out to maybe- maybe Adele on the one hand, and Ed Sheeran, on the other hand. So Adele has a quite strongly remarkable blended accent when she- when she speaks. When she sings, she puts on something that’s quite different from that too. So she goes for rhoticity. She actually also undoes this trap that split where she’ll make her bath vowel sound like the same as her trap vowel and say pass, dance and everything else like that in song, and she also attempted to go rhotic when she performs, but there’s a number of different things that kind of suggests that she’s- she’s aiming for something but not hitting any particular target. So she’s kind of going for another sort of pan American kind of- kind of target there. [music]

I was listening to some Ed Sheeran before this, and I would not be surprised if a British listener listened to him and thought, oh, he doesn’t sound English at all, when he sings, but there’s a bunch of English things that he actually keeps when he does perform including non rhoticity. He’s quite non rhotic and there’s words like stop or body that he’ll actually say like stop [British] or body [British] instead. And it’s almost as like you start to listen to the details and you realize, no he’s just actually using an r&b genre of music but- but projecting an English voice over it’s actually kind of interesting. To hear, to pay close attention to that. [music]

Megan Figueroa
I think I have a question that I realized that I was wondering about the whole time, how conscious is this all?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
You know, I don’t know how conscious it is whatsoever. I think it varies from singer to singer?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Absolutely.

Megan Figueroa
Like Iggy Azalea, right would be very conscious. Probably.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Conscious. Tone deaf but conscious.

Megan Figueroa
Right, right, right, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I don’t know if– so if we had the the opportunity to sit down here with Adele, and ask her about it, I don’t know how much detail she could actually give to us. She might say something like, Well, yeah, I’m not singing in my own voice. She might actually claim that she’s not trying.

Carrie Gillon
That would be interesting.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
That it’s just something that’s kind of- kind of unconscious and I don’t mean to pick on her in particular. I imagine a lot of musicians are like this, they don’t even know- they don’t know that they’re doing it necessarily. Or they might be highly conscious of it. And do it on purpose.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, I have to assume some people are doing one and some people are doing the other because

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s just- that’s humans are complicated.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah. And I think it’s also probably linked to the genre that the person is performing. So if they- if they’re trying to perform a genre that is very clearly culturally associated with some other group like r&b or like country music, then I think that the- the intention of the performer is a lot more obvious there. As opposed to let’s say, I don’t know, something as widely variable as Meghan Trainor on the one hand [music]

Or John Mayer. [music] Or Weezer? [white] All of whom are white American performers who employ non rhoticity in their performance. Performing music that is not as obviously African American in its origins, you can say, but I think what it brings us back to is the acknowledgement that needs to be made, which is that, for the most part, with the exception of country music and other mountain derived genres, the entirety of modern- modern American music is African American in its origins. So American rock singers, even in the 60s, even if they were rhotic when they would speak, you know, would- would probably have veered towards performing non rhoticity because of the African American origins of the music that they were adopting at the time. And I think that’s kind of- that’s kind of stuck around as an index of rock music more generally. Much modern American popular music and rock music retains this non rhoticity on account of its roots. It even- it persists into genres that- that seem so far removed from the African American roots of what became popular American music so- so modern metal and modern punk music- things that you don’t think of as- as black genres- performers in those genres are nevertheless sometimes non rhotic because of the fact that it seems for modern performance to mark or index music or rock music as opposed to music of African American origin, but it’s still not necessarily uniformly so- so you can still find examples of recent or comtemparary rock music where the performer actually does maintain rhoticity. So it’s sort of like a- a different subset of performers who- who actually do perform in their own voice, and they’re not appropriating in the same sense, and it’s true of some modern pop music like Katy Perry, actually, is rhotic when she sings. [music]

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Sarah Brand is another example of a modern singer songwriter who’s rhotic when she sings. The music that she plays is- is essentially as African American in origin as any other modern American genre, but she doesn’t appropriate the voice in the same way. [music] Even Kirko Bangz could be an example of this, like a lot of his contemporaries were non rhotic during that grunge movement, so Pearl Jam. [music]

All those- all those bands had singers who would drop their arms when they sang. [music] But I think Kirko Bangz actually stood out as someone who didn’t do that. [music]

It’s not what he’s known for, but from my point of view, as the linguist who pays attention to that type of detail, he maintained rhoticity when he sang. Kind of interesting point.

Carrie Gillon
Now I want to listen to all of this music

Megan Figueroa
Yes

Carrie Gillon
And find- find the r’s.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
We should have a record party.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, we totally should! I would love that.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
And the best thing about this is I’m going to have so many songs to post.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
It’s one of my favorite things.

Megan Figueroa
And song clips to add.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Oh, yeah tons.

Carrie Gillon
Oh yeah.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
This- it’s always a good excuse to put some George Michael too if you need to get excuse to do that.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that’s a good point.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
It’s just a random example I just pulled out, but I was wondering, you know, what- what did he do when he performed during- during the peak years of his career, and the song like faith? I actually listened to it a couple minutes ago. To my ear, it sounds like he’s just British. [music]

He’s non rhotic and he’s got some monophones. He actually had quite a thick northern accent. He’s not from Manchester but he’s from…

Carrie Gillon
Interesting.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I think New York. So his accent- his accent was quite different from most English accents. That I would imagine. Most of your viewers would know about. He would have sounded a lot like Mel D. Who’s- Who’s got a Yorkshire accent as well. And that comes through in his song, actually,

Carrie Gillon
Or if anyone’s listening, watch all creatures great and small. Maybe they would be aware of the Yorkshire accent.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes, exactly. Yeah. Game of Thrones fans, probably you’re aware of it too.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, yeah, that’s true. Oh, and I forgot one thing to mention at the beginning. You’re also the creator of Lol phonology.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes, yes. That…

Megan Figueroa
Or L-O-L phonology. How do you say it? Do you say lol?

Dr. Bob Kennedy
I say lal phonology.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, ok.

Carrie Gillon
Because we were both lols.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yes, I guess that’s my- that’s- that’s one of my other alter egos is lol phonology. So for your viewers, that’s a Facebook page that I use to share captioned memes basically that are meant to be humor, that linguists would find funny. It’s a- it’s a neat, it’s a niche market. But it’s a- it’s been a lot of fun doing it. I’ve been doing that for like 10 years actually. 10 years this summer. I started out with just cats and now about four years after that, I realized wait when people do captioning, they don’t just do cats. And I was so relieved because I was out of ideas. It was just always the same joke using these cat pictures. So then I got into like studying the- The more currently used meme templates that people have adopted. So I got- a got a good kick out of doing that. I took a break for about a year. Recently I had some writer’s block. Actually, I ended up having negative associations with meaning in general because there was so much really nasty negative meaning that came about during and after the most recent presidential election that the whole concept for me was just marked as nasty, and I just could not get back into doing it. But you know, for the past couple of months, I’ve been publishing some new work. And in the meantime, I’ve seen there’s some meme pages out there that actually have far- far more followers than- but most of the work that I put up there as original as like I’ll if somebody sends me something and I’ll post it, and credit it, but I’ve mostly done original things.

Carrie Gillon
Well, happy anniversary.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Well, thank you.

Carrie Gillon
I totally understand what you had to take a break I would have had to to. I also had that same sort of achy feeling around memes for a while. But I’m glad you’re back because we can’t let the assholes win.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Exactly. Yeah, well, I mean, we have to reappropriate meaning for its original purpose, which is just to share humor.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
You know, that’s it in this cultural knowledge and not use it as as ways of just of undercutting someone else’s life or ideology or anything else like that. I actually had a rule that I instituted for myself in the first place when I first started doing was, you know, I make these memes that are things that are supposed to find humor in linguistic topics, but I never ever wanted to make fun of a particular scholar or make fun of a particular theory. So I deliberately never got into the idea of making an individual or even a particular theoretical stance as the butt of a joke. Unless it was some kind of inside joke where you know, practitioners have a theory we also find it humorous.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that’s something that’s really important to me too. I don’t ever want to shit on subfields of linguistics. I think it’s really nasty. And yeah, so… I will- I don’t- I also do not want to participate in that.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, as the, I guess, caretaker and contributor to this particular online site, I actually have kind of an interesting role to- to try to carry over that type of thing as well. So, you know, it’s a rule that I hold myself to, and I do occasionally share other people’s work, but I’m never going to share something from someone that’s nasty in that way.

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It would be awesome to have you talk about memes and how you put them together, but I think that’s outside of our purview. So maybe if we can find some other podcast that you could talk about this on? I would just love it, I would find it so great.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah yeah. No, that’d be really cool if we could find a way to make that happen. Well, we were also talking about doing the language and sports thing, which we could do at a later date. as well.

Megan Figueroa
Absolutely.

Carrie Gillon
We will definitely tap you for a second time so.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Okay.

Carrie Gillon
Listeners, be prepared!

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Fantastic.

Carrie Gillon
Okay. Well, thank you so much for coming on our show.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Yeah, it’s my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to talk about it. It’s always a lot of fun to talk about this. And I think that we probably talked or could have talked for a few more hours especially if we had- if we were all in the same room with YouTube in front of us then I think it would have been kind of a three day party or something.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah definately.

Carrie Gillon
But yes, I would- I could talk about this forever. It’s really cool.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I know especially since I want to be like, Well, what about so and so and what about so and so?

Carrie Gillon
And also in a place where we don’t need air conditioning? Because I’m starting to boil here. We have to turn off the air conditioning for this.

Megan Figueroa
Oh yeah. For our professionalism, so we don’t hear the air conditioning. Yeah, I think it’s gonna bring a broader interest too. We might get people that are like, Oh, I didn’t know that linguistics is relevent here.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
It’s always….

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, it’s always relevant. Yes. Well, thank you so much, and we always end our show with… is it our slogan? Our motto or life our life’s work?

Carrie Gillon
Our tagline?

Megan Figueroa
Our tagline! It’s my life’s work too.

Carrie Gillon
Yes, don’t be an asshole.

Megan Figueroa
Don’t be an asshole.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Wiser words have never been spoken. [all laugh]

Megan Figueroa
Ok, bye.

Dr. Bob Kennedy
Bye. Thank you. [music]

Carrie Gillon
The Vocal Fries podcast is produced by Chris Ayers for Halftone Audio. Theme music by Nick Granum. You can find us on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @vocalfriespod. You can email us at vocalfriespod@gmail.com

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