A picture of me (Aidan Malanoski) holding my cat (Rasputin, better known as Razz) in December 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Aidan Jerome Malanoski (they/them). I am a first-year PhD student in linguistics at the Graduate Center, CUNY. My primary research interests lie in sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, and syntax.

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Research projects

Language, identity, and music. My work on this topic responds to two broad questions: how do musicians use language (and other semiotic resources) to undertake identity work in their music; and how do listeners interpret and engage with musicians’ semiotic choices? Of particular interest is the question of authenticity: how do artists create “authentic” identities, and how do listeners decide what is authentic?

At present, I am investigating the band Buscabulla. It consists of Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo del Valle, two natives of Puerto Rican native who founded the band while living in New York City in the early 2010s. The duo returned to Puerto Rico after hurricanes Irma and Maria, and their most recent album, Regresa, is largely inspired by this return. My research investigates singer Berrios’s use of linguistic features associated with Puerto Rican Spanish to position herself with respect to the communities (Puerto Rican, Nuyorican, Latinx, etc.) she inhabits, and to establish herself as an “authentic” Puerto Rican. I further investigate discursive acts of identification by listeners in YouTube comments on their videos.

Language choice and named languages. Recent work in sociolinguistics and related fields has challenged the psychological reality and descriptive utility of discrete codes such as English and Spanish, instead proposing that in communicating, speakers draw on a unified set of linguistic (or semiotic) resources. Nevertheless, at times, speakers may behave in ways that align with traditional conceptions of named languages. This is the case in the music of Buscabulla, who sing in a relatively “pure” Spanish, restricting their use of English to occasional loanwords (e.g., les gusta mucho el flow ‘they really like the flow’ on “La Fiebre”) despite being able to speak English (or more aptly, having access to linguistic features associated with English). Consequently, I am interested in why speakers with access to multilingual resources choose to speak in “monolingual” ways, and more broadly, what the nature of named languages is in a theory that denies their psychological reality.

 

Name

I pronounce my last name [ˌmɛləˈnɑski] (me-luh-NAH-skee, if you like an English-dictionary-style transcription), although I view [ˌmæləˈnɑski] (ma-luh-NAH-skee) as an acceptable spelling pronunciation. Please do not pronounce the penultimate syllable with the MOUTH vowel (e.g., [ˌmæləˈna͡ʊski] ma-luh-NOU-ski), or else I will be sad.