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3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202, USA

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Cultures around the world communicate via musical instruments by transposing phonological and phonetic features to musical melodies. This system of encoding linguistic features with musical instruments is called musical speech surrogacy. While the abilities to decode the message of the music is often considered an aspect of linguistic competence in these cultures, this musico-linguistic practice is rarely considered in linguistic investigation. As language-external evidence for linguistic theory, this talk will focus on the musical speech surrogates which are based on the Yorùbá language (Yoruboid, Niger-Congo; Nigeria). With evidence for vocal imitation and interpretation of video-music by Yorùbá gamers, the talk will show that the practice of musical speech surrogacy can influence the perception and interpretation of music as containing linguistic information, even when the interpreted music are not based on language.

Samuel Akinbo a community-based researcher with interests in phonological description, analysis and theory, syntax-phonology interface, and phonetics. He has deep experience doing community-based research on endangered and under-resourced African languages. His approach to linguistic research involves considering language-external evidence for linguistic theory, so his research also focuses on language-music connections (e.g., talking drums) and language-based cultural aesthetics.

Open to the Reed community.

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