The sociophonetics of British heavy metal music: T Voicing and the FOOT-STRUT split


Drawing from Trudgill’s finding that some American phonetic features are common in British pop-songs, this paper explores whether this principle applies to a genre as distinctly British (in its original form) as Heavy Metal. We worked on a database comprised of the full studio discography, and some isolated vocal tracks and interviews of two bands: Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. We analyzed two phenomena: i) T Voicing as an index of Americanization and ii) if the typical Northern British lack of FOOT-STRUT Split found in Def Leppard’s interviews is preserved in songs. Results showed that a certain degree of Americanization is attested. While part of it can probably be attributed to Trudgill’s idea that the American cultural domination in the music industry leads to imitation, other factors come into play.

International Congress of Phonetic Sciences