A picture of me, Aidan Malanoski.

My name is Aidan Jerome Malanoski (they/them). I am a second-year PhD student in linguistics at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and an instructor in the linguistics program at Lehman College

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Research interests

  • Sociocultural linguistics
    • Sociolinguistics and music
    • Language, identity, and authenticity
    • Enregisterment and semiotic repertoires
    • Language in Baltimore
  • Syntax
    • Syntax-phonology interface
      • Linearization and word order typology
    • Parallel structures
  • Computational linguistics
    • Low-resource natural language processing
  • Ethics and methodology

Current research projects

  • Musical genre and identity. In the past, Asif Agha’s theory of enregisterment has primarily been applied to the formation of linguistic registers. However, Agha has remarked that the theory of enregisterment “appl[ies] to—indeed, treat[s] language like—any other cultural form” (Agha 2003: 232). As such, I explore the enregisterment of a different cultural form, musical genre, proposing that the formation of musical genres is a process of enregisterment. This bears on our understand of the role of genre in identity formation. If musical genres are registers, then they are repertoires of signs (which may or may not be strictly “musical”) associated with socially-recognizable personae. By drawing on a genre’s repertoire, a social agent can invoke and position themselves relative to the personae associated with the genre. By allowing agents to (dis)align themselves with personae, genre becomes a tool for identity formation.

  • Language, identity, and authenticity in 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 linguistic reality and descriptive utility of named language such as English and Spanish, instead proposing that in communicating, speakers draw on a unified repertoire 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, largely 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).