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Chapter I introduction

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Chapter I


As the beginning of the study, the first chapter of introduction will present background of the study as the start of this chapter. Then it will be followed by statement of the problems, research questions, significant of the study, definitions of the terms, and study limitation.

    1. Background of the Study

Listening to song is the most common hobby for people. A song can give the listener a relax feeling, which comes from the melody of the song. Listening to a song can be a source of language learning for students and society. However, people just listen to the words without being aware of meanings behind it. For students, listening to a song can help them to improve language skill because musicians or songwriters often employ modern saying and idioms (Language Learning Advisor).

The lyrical styles in song can help people to find the purpose of a singer to sing the song and one style that can be found, is figurative language style. Figurative language in a song is able to improve the ability to apply a specific element in literature (Educational Rap, 2009). The song will include types of figurative language e.g. metaphor, personification, simile, etc which can be demonstrated from the music, rhyme, and memorization (Educational Rap, 2009).

Figurative language or figures of speech is a branch of linguistics, which takes 2 concerns, they are figure and the language. Figuring an object to real thing uses the language. In addition, figurative language is rarely learned. However, it is quite interesting to do a research on it.

This research prepares to look more detail in figurative language or figures of speech, which is discovered in Michael Jackson’s lyrics. The lyrics sounded “artistic” in the language. The applied figurative languages in the lyrics were to describe an issue indirectly.

Michael Jackson was born on August 29th 1958 in Gary, Indiana- USA. He was an African- American. He was not only a singer but also a songwriter. In public’s perception, Michael Jackson was one of the artists who concerned about the conditions in world e.g. racial- discrimination, children, environment, etc. By conducting the research, the public’s perception would be proved by analyzing all MJ’s songs from his first solo album Off The Wall (1979) until This Is It (2009).

There are two purposes of doing figurative language analyzing on all MJ’s songs:

  1. To prove the public’s perception that MJ wrote songs, which were ONLY concerning about the world, is right or there will be another concerns behind his applied figurative languages.

  2. To look in detail MJ’s development of figurative languages from Off The Wall (1979)- This Is It (2009).

The materials for this research are going to be from all Michael Jackson solo albums from Off The Wall (1979) until This Is It (2009). The researches are going to find and analyze the improvements of figurative language in Michael Jackson’s lyrics from 1979- 2009. Commonly people likely to judge the singer as the owner of the song without being aware whether the song is written by the singer or other author. This research is also going to examine all songs, which were sung by Michael Jackson without concerning in the writer of the songs.

This study needs to combine the understanding from both researcher and reader. A researcher must be aware with occurred figurative language and its classifications. While interpreting the meanings, researcher must be aware with the types of applied figurative languages, the lyrics, and the context e.g. Michael Jackson’s backgrounds. The study will also combined with dictionary study as the lyrics used varied vocabularies in the contexts.

    1. Statement of the Problem

When listening to a song, people usually just listen to the music, rhythm, and the lyrics, but rarely aware about the meaning of the lyrics. Michael Jackson, who was the songwriter and singer, represented his personal life, world’s conditio, media, the influential persons in his life, etc in figurative language in the songs. In the transcripts of the songs, almost all the phrases were written figuratively. However, there will be another possibility that the phrases were written literally, but the meanings could be inferred figuratively.

As a researcher, while reading the transcripts of the songs problems appeared in mind, the first problem is in what context that the phrases expressed in the transcript, which will influence both reader and listeners’ mind. The second is about types of figurative language, which are applied in the songs, and the last is about the possible meanings of the applied figurative languages.

    1. Research Questions

The stated problems above lead to answer the research questions below:

  1. What are the types of figurative languages in Michael Jackson’s songs?

  2. What are the possible meanings in those applied figurative language, which can be interpreted from the lyrics?

    1. Significance of the Study

This study is conducted for educational purposes, which is wished to give a broader knowledge of figurative language and imagery. The targets that are aimed in researching figurative language and imagery in Michael Jackson’s lyrics are for:

  1. Students : to learn more detail about types of figurative language and to give a broader example of the functions of it. Other benefit is to improve the vocabulary knowledge.

  2. Educationalist : to give an extensive knowledge of figurative language. To expand the materials for language study, not only by looking on poems, but also songs lyrics.

  3. Society : to enlighten the general knowledge that every single things around us can be interpreted by using figures and use it as a language in any styles of spoken and written.

    1. Definition of the Terms

This research is going to examine the figurative languages in song lyrics. Before, moving to the analyses, there are some terms to be known:

  • Figurative Language: relates to sense, which is an extension from of a basic or literal meaning. It links to the traditional concept of figures of speech, which refers to a figure (Oxford Concise Dictionary for Linguistics 138). Figurative The examples of figures of speech: metaphor, metonymy, and personification.

  • Lyrics: a set up of words, which can be found in a song. The languages in song lyric are commonly abstract and almost cannot be understood literally. So, this kinds of languages, which make a lyric can have both explicit and implicit meanings (Wikipedia). In academic view, lyrics are regarded as a social commentary in which the themes are varied from political until cultural issues. The purpose of a lyric is presented by metaphor or symbolism (Wikipedia).

    1. Limitation of the Study

As figurative language has many classifications, the study is going to be limited for several parts. The study limitation is set to prevent mix-up during the classification process and to make the study easier to be presented. The limited parts are going to be on the classification of the figurative languages and the phrases that appear in the songs.

The first scope is the figurative language itself is classified into the selected classes according to the phrases. A figurative sentence can be classified into one, two, or more types of figurative language. The types of figurative languages will be less than five types. The transcriptions will be used to classify, only the sentence, which was expressed figuratively.

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