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101 Songwriting Wrongs and How to Right Them by Pete Luboff, Pat Luboff

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18

ONE SONG, MANY LANGUAGES

Don’t write lyrics with an inappropriate mix of conversational tones

We are fascinated by people who study language dialects and know them so well that they can tell where you come from after listening to you talk for a few minutes. With the egocentricity of youth, our son once said, “Everyone else has an accent, but I don’t.” We told him that, to other people, he does have an accent. Strangely enough—since he’s a native Californian—it’s a New York accent he picked up from Pat.

The language we use gives more information than just the literal meaning of the words. It identifies us in terms of education, social status, geographic origin, and level of relationship to the listener. This identification was the basis ...

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