Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Honors Academy- (Honors Self-Design Major)

Additional Departmental Affiliation

Modern Languages

Document Type



Often unconsciously, every bilingual makes a choice in each interaction of which language to use. These choices have many motivating factors but are mainly based on the content of the message and the identity of the speaker. This may occur in seconds and without hesitation. If even here, a choice is taking place, how much more in the writing, composition, and production of a song or album? Artists, unlike speakers in a conversation, can choose the audience the communicate with. Musicians and music listeners who choose to define themselves in a personal bilingual identity, which at the same time is situated in a sociolinguistic context, use language as a means of both connecting and drawing boundary lines around their listener community, who must have some knowledge of the artist’s language and, potentially, culture in order to relate to and understand the artist’s message. This project aims to uncover the themes of language choices made by musicians who have more than one language available to perform in. This was done using specific contexts as the basis for a cross-cultural comparison of how musicians communicate their bilingual identity, using linguistic conventions such as domains of use, group and ethnic affiliation, and the flexibility of grammar and language mixing in poetry.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Winkler, Dr. Trini Stickle, Dr. Chris Keller


Anthropology | English Language and Literature | Linguistics | Modern Languages