Dissertation

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
teresaq
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Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:31 pm

I've just got approval to analyse the words of LC's songs for my English Language MA dissertation. This is so exciting!! And we have tickets for the Manchester concert! http://studentat60.blogspot.co.uk/ :D
Steven
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Re: Dissertation

Postby Steven » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:47 am

Hi teresaq,

Welcome to the forum and best wishes to you on your dissertation. Perhaps you'll post a link to the dissertation
after it is completed. Enjoy the concert. :)
teresaq
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Re: Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:55 pm

26,038 words. That's how long the combined lyrics of the studio albums are. I had to edit the lyrics to include all the repeated sections, as mostly they were shown as '...' but now I have a version with them there, in full, for analysis. The interesting analysis start here.
MaryB
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Re: Dissertation

Postby MaryB » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:18 pm

Daunting task. Hope we will get a chance to see the end result here. Good luck and welcome to the forum!
Best regards,
Mary
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hydriot
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Re: Dissertation

Postby hydriot » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:37 pm

Take very very great care. You are stepping into a minefield (or perhaps an avalanche?)

I reckon you are going to have to read this entire forum. For example, do you know where Boogie Street is, and what went on there after dark?

Also, many of the allusion are Jewish (e.g. Who By Fire). If you are of that faith, you will be at a major advantage!
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
teresaq
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Re: Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:18 pm

Thanks for the warning. I know that for a lot of people these songs are very personal and have special meaning. The aspect I will be looking at is the portrayal of the first person narrator. When he says 'I' or 'We', who is he describing? These are mini works of fiction and the 'speaker' is not L. Cohen. For example, sometimes its a lover, sometimes it's a leader and sometimes it's a victim, being moved down the track. How many of these narrators are there? That's the kind of thing I will be looking at. It will be a bit scientific - I will be counting words and working out percentages (with the help of software). So only the final interpretation will be mine. A lot of it will be presentation of measured linguistic features.

I don't know if this approach will give you more or less concern.

Just now, I'm getting hyped up for the concert tonight.
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hydriot
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Re: Dissertation

Postby hydriot » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:47 pm

You are of course absolutely right that the narrator is a character and not necessarily the author's voice, something most commercial writers seem to have forgotten these days. For example, 'the lying narrator' is a fascinating subject all on its own. But that is more in the realm of Literary Criticism than Linguistics of course.

Perhaps the most confusing narration is in Famous Blue Raincoat. The consensus seems to be that the narrator of one age is talking to himself at another age.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
teresaq
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Re: Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:22 pm

I haven't posted for a while because I have been working really hard at analysing the lyrics. I keep looking for patterns - in his use of nouns, verbs and words like 'and' and 'the. He uses those two words far more than do other popular songs I have compared him with, so they are significant. For weeks, I have not found patterns and have been tearing my hair out. At last, I am beginning to get it. There is more than one pattern, and they are all interleaved. He is like conversation and writing and poetry and complex literature. All at once. So he is intimate and organised and confusing and challenging. And I have evidence.

http://studentat60.blogspot.co.uk/
teresaq
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Re: Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:14 pm

The other pattern, which has been staring me in the face for ages is that its not what he says, its the way that he says it. There is no significant difference in the content words he uses (like 'pillow' or 'violin'). The difference between him and other popular songs is in the way the language is structured. He uses 'the' a lot, which is typical of formal prose. But then he uses 'and' a lot, like conversation, to string a lot of things together.

http://studentat60.blogspot.co.uk/
teresaq
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Re: Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:12 pm

Well, I got the MA - a Merit. But I have not stopped analysing the lyrics. Fascinating, and not always what you think.
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Cheshire gal
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Re: Dissertation

Postby Cheshire gal » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:31 pm

Congratulations Teresa :D
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
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teresaq
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Re: Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:56 pm

I am still working on the lyrics and I'm maybe a third of the way to a book. There isn't really anything else out there that covers his lyrics so I hope I can find a publisher.
Tchocolatl
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Re: Dissertation

Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:19 pm

Congratulations for your MA.

For the book, keep going!!
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
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teresaq
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Re: Dissertation

Postby teresaq » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:37 pm

Book now finished. Are there any publishers out there?
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Goldin
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Re: Dissertation

Postby Goldin » Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:19 pm

Congrats, Teresa!

Did you think about self-publishing services (such as http://www.blurb.com/ & https://www.lulu.com/ & others)?
Roman aka Hermitage Prisoner

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