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Call for Papers: Challenges in Computational Linguistics, Empiric Research & Multidisciplinary Potential of German Song Lyrics

Over the past decades, pop music has evolved from an element of youth culture to a constitutive part of modern culture and language reality. Its multi-layered subgenres - spanning easy listening, political songs, punk, rock, and hip-hop (just to name a few) - surround our lives in the most different situations. We listen to them in the car, while shopping or playing sports or at home watching TV shows. Songs do not only amuse, but convey messages and feelings, and offer inspiration or orientation. Moreover, a range of very different genres representing the feelings and sensitivities of a pluralistic society have developed in niches outside of the commercial mainstream. Textual content of pop songs, as e.g. already documented in research on the interaction between pop songs and youth language, thus can be seen as influential on everyday language. Song lyrics combine a multitude of styles and registers, they show features of written and spoken discourse, and they can be seen as a representation of language diversity in the continuum between standard and non-standard language.

In the past, German linguistics and computational linguistics have not paid much attention to this topic, possibly due to a lack of resources. Today, the publicly accessible song lyrics corpus
( offers sustainable and widely stratified data for empiric explorations. All contents have been digitized or encoded using established text technological standards (such as TEI-P5). There are multiple layers of annotation including lemma, parts-of-speech, named entities, and even neologisms. Lyrics are legally cleared, and divided into author-specific and thematic archives. This repository hence constitutes a real treasure trove for linguistic research replete with interesting vocabulary, unusual morphology and exceptional syntax.

Against this background, the special edition of the open-access journal "Journal for Language Technology and Computational Linguistics (JLCL)" ( invites inter- and multidisciplinary contributions on the qualitative and quantitative analyses of German song lyrics. The publication date is scheduled for the end of 2022.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • computational and text technological challenges for the processing of song texts (segmentation, tagging, parsing, etc.)
  • empirical claims on standard language proximity, and/or a positioning in the continuum between written and colloquial language
  • language change and alternations of language patterns
  • lexical diversity, verbal creativity, neologisms and occasionalisms
  • stylistic analyses, measures of text analogies, identification of author specific patterns
  • empiric detection of figurative language, e.g. idiomatic word combinations and metaphors
  • identification and visualization of prominent topics for selected time spans and authors
  • analyses of language and politics in a temporal context
  • sentiment analysis to describe the emotionality in song texts
  • rhyme forms and rhyme schemes
  • multimodal extension, e.g. taking music videos into account.

Contributions can be submitted in German or English to and will be peer-reviewed. There is no limitation to the length of an article, but authors should try not to exceed 20 pages. Shorter contributions are of course also welcome.

Important dates:

  • Submission of short abstracts (with a maximum of 200-250 words): January 31st 2022 (extended)
  • Author notification: February 28th 2022
  • Final submission of camera-ready articles: October 31st 2022

For more information, please feel free to contact the guest editors of this special issue:

Roman Schneider, Leibniz-Institute for the German Language Mannheim,

Gertrud Faaß, University of Hildesheim,