A Short Research on the use of Selectional Restriction Violations among Lyrics

- Lugaoqiang, Zhang Liu, Xiao Han


Songs, along with poetry, short stories, novels, and dramas, belong to the language of humanity (literary language). As an art form that began to be popular in the last century, it has come into the view of linguists more frequently today.Between its lines, vivid expressions such as “city can sleep”, “animals can talk to each other” and “memory can dance” often appear. This abnormal writing skill refers to a unique linguistic phenomenon ------ Selective Restriction Violation(SRV) explained by Noam Chomsky and is often associated with “metaphor” according to generative grammarians and cognitive linguists. In this research article, 10 representative sentences from popular musics’ list in recent years were selected in order to explore more about this phenomenon in music field. After a detailed analysis, it is found that it appears frequently and The author prefers to use the technique of “replacing concrete nouns with abstract nouns”(9 from all 10 sentences) although it is a special linguistic phenomenon. The underlying reason for writing in this way might be that metaphorical expressions can not only make the sentence more vivid, but also help readers more accurately understand the ideas which authors want to express.


Head and Modifiers Rule, Selective Restriction Violation, Noam Chomsky, Lyrics, Metaphor

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.12n.4.p.150


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