Complexity of first-person pronoun in lyrics: How the Swedish band Kent wrote and translated “the nation” and “the self”

Wenjian Li

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper

Abstract

Kent, a Swedish rock band, was one of the most popular bands in Sweden during the time when the country was hailed as a global popular music superpower. Seen as a symbol of “Swedish” music by both the audience and the critics, the band created songs almost exclusively in Swedish, with two albums being translated into English by the creators in a failed attempt to break into the international market. This paper examines the use of the first-person pronoun in Kent’s lyrics as a way to explore the relationship between personal storytelling and the establishment of a national image. The paper argues that the conscious choice to write in Swedish allows for greater agency of expression, which is revealed through the complexity of the first-person pronoun in the Swedish lyrics, as opposed to the English self-translation. The paper also demonstrates, via corpus linguistic means, how the frequency of the first-person pronoun changes over the course of the band’s career, reflecting the varying levels of subjectivity in their music. In Kent’s later works, the first-person pronoun is used to represent both the individual and the nation, creating a complex and nuanced lyric voice. The paper concludes that through the representation of “the nation” and “I” in their lyrics, Kent have acquired the status of a quintessentially Swedish band.
Original languageEnglish
Pages23-24
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2023
EventConference of Translation Studies and the Digital Humanities - Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 8 Dec 20239 Dec 2023
http://dh.tra.cuhk.edu.hk/index.html
http://dh.tra.cuhk.edu.hk/forms/booklet.pdf

Conference

ConferenceConference of Translation Studies and the Digital Humanities
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
Period8/12/239/12/23
Internet address

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Complexity of first-person pronoun in lyrics: How the Swedish band Kent wrote and translated “the nation” and “the self”'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this