1
A COGNITIVE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO JUDEO-SPANISH SONGS:
EMOTIONS HIDDEN IN THE LINGUISTIC EXPRESSIONS USED IN THESE
SONG...
2
Judeo-Spanish music in Istanbul is the group of Sefarad, formed of three young Jews,
living in Istanbul.
However, the mu...
3
In Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, and Vietnamese words take on arbitrarily different lexical
meanings based on the tones in ...
4
2. BRAIN MECHANISMS FOR SPEECH AND MUSIC PROCESSING
Brodmann’s areas below in Figure 1 show each part involved in music ...
5
Brodmann's # NAME FUNCTION
17 Occipital Lobe Visual Projection Cortex
18 Visual Association Cortex
19 Posterior Parietal...
6
area intermediate between the visual and auditory areas of the cortex. Therefore, our
nerves get motivated through our f...
7
Now it is time to discover whether people can understand which emotions a song whose
words they cannot understand really...
8
love, all participants managed to understand the phrase, as “merakli” (“curious”) is a
Turkish word.
But nobody was able...
9
When it comes to the phrase “kruel korason”, all the participants agreed that the
adjective “kruel” was an indicator of ...
10
All of the participants agreed that the repetition of words in sentences gave them joy,
concerning (1), but (2) created...
11
(7) “El mi padre me dyo a mi kampos i vinyas” (“my father gave me - to me – fields and
wineyards”).
Finally, (8) made 3...
12
6. REFERENCES
Aniruddh D. Patel: “Syntactic Processing in Language and Music: Different Cognitive
Operations, Similar N...
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Agis, Derya. November 28 – 30, 2005. First International Conference of Sephardic Culture: First Turkish-Sephardic and Spanish Encounter, A Cognitive Scientific Approach to Judeo-Spanish Songs: Emotions Hidden in the Linguistic Expressions Used in These

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Agis, Derya. November 28 – 30, 2005. First International Conference of Sephardic Culture: First Turkish-Sephardic and Spanish Encounter, A Cognitive Scientific Approach to Judeo-Spanish Songs: Emotions Hidden in the Linguistic Expressions Used in These Songs and Their Perception by the Turks, Ankara, Turkey.

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Transcript of "Agis, Derya. November 28 – 30, 2005. First International Conference of Sephardic Culture: First Turkish-Sephardic and Spanish Encounter, A Cognitive Scientific Approach to Judeo-Spanish Songs: Emotions Hidden in the Linguistic Expressions Used in These "

  1. 1. 1 A COGNITIVE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO JUDEO-SPANISH SONGS: EMOTIONS HIDDEN IN THE LINGUISTIC EXPRESSIONS USED IN THESE SONGS AND THEIR PERCEPTION BY THE TURKS ABSTRACT In this interdisciplinary study, I argue that some texts can be interpreted in a myriad of different ways from an emotional and cognitive point of view. Emotions evoked by these texts can be culture-specific. The Judeo-Spanish ballads and songs have many emotional themes: They can talk about someone, a ritual, a wedding, or a political event. As a result, they can be classified as political, sarcastic, romantic, heroic, and comic. All of these styles and themes lead to several emotion prototypes via the culture- specific emotional expressions of Judeo-Spanish. I propose that the emotional and cognitive magic of Judeo-Spanish songs lies in some linguistic structures. For identifying the Judeo-Spanish emotion prototypes and their possibility of being perceived by the Turks I conducted an experiment. Ten Turkish adults participated to this experiment. I made them listen to the five pieces sung by Jak and Janet Esim, and three pieces by the new group Sefarad. First, I wanted them to write which emotions they felt listening to these songs and the linguistic and musical reasons of these on a piece of paper. Second, I distributed them the Judeo-Spanish versions of these songs and wanted them to choose the emotion they felt on a multiple-choice test. I reached the conclusion that emotion-provoking linguistic uses are culture and language specific. 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. JUDEO-SPANISH MUSIC IN TURKEY Sephardic, or Judeo-Spanish music, which is an ethnical music originated from Spain, has been present in Turkey for more than five centuries. In 1492 Catholic domination prevailed in the Spanish peninsula. The Muslim Arabs and Jews were forced to convert their religion into Christianity; those, who refused to do so, immigrated to the Ottoman Empire (Gerson-Sarhon, 2003). The music of the Jews immigrated to Istanbul has been influenced by the Ottoman music. The newest and youngest group representing the
  2. 2. 2 Judeo-Spanish music in Istanbul is the group of Sefarad, formed of three young Jews, living in Istanbul. However, the music of the couple of Jak and Janet Esim carries more typical qualities of the original Judeo-Spanish music than that of the Sefarad, as the latter’s music has been widely influenced from the Turkish pop music, and arranged by Turkish musicians. Briefly, Jak and Janet Esim sing original Judeo-Spanish ballads with original Judeo-Spanish unified rhythms in the typical Judeo-Spanish musical form of romance (Esim, 1994). 1.2. THE LINK BETWEEN EMOTIONS, LANGUAGE AND MUSIC Language and music lead to two instances of rich syntactic structures processed by the human brain. In both domains discrete elements are ordered in hierarchical patterns in accordance with some principles of combination (Raffman, 1993); experienced listeners in a given linguistic or musical culture demonstrate implicit knowledge of syntactic patterns and principles in many ways, including judgments of correctness, memory advantages for rule-governed sequences, and production of plausible substitutions when linguistic or musical sequences are recalled less than perfectly (Blacking, 1973; Sloboda, 1985) (ctd. in Patel, 1998). Language and music have important differences in the form, aim, and use of their syntactic structures. In sentences, words are hierarchically structured in systems of must dependencies describable as head-dependent (e.g., Ades & Steedman, 1982; Bresnan, 1982; Chomsky, 1995; Pollard and Sag, 1994); musical tones and chords are linked by probabilistic dependencies (Meyer, 1956; Narmour, 1990, 1992); the hierarchical structuring of these events may be depicted in terms of head-elaboration relations (Lerdahl & Jackendoff, 1983); as well, syntactic conventions in language indicate thematic relations (in the sense of the strategy of ‘who-did-what-to-whom’), whereas “in music, syntax participates in the dynamic articulation of mobility vs. closure, or “tension resolution” “ (Swain, 1997) (ctd. in Deutsch & Henthorn, 2004).
  3. 3. 3 In Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, and Vietnamese words take on arbitrarily different lexical meanings based on the tones in which they are enunciated; for instance in Mandarin, the word “ma” means “mother” when spoken in the first tone, “hemp” in the second tone, “horse” in the third tone, and a “reproach” in the fourth tone (Deutsch & Henthorn, 2004). However, Turkish is a language whose syllables and the stress on these syllables cause the homographs to have divergent meanings, as in “Al!” (“Take!”), a verb phrase, or better to say, an imperative sentence read as a one-syllable word with a stress on the initial letter of the second person imperative, and in the color of red, which is also “al” in Turkish. The adjective requires that the stress of the phrase appear in the first or the second syllable of the noun to which it attaches in order to form an adjectival phrase. Though, in Judeo-Spanish the pitch and stress all influence the meanings of words. Both in Turkish and Judeo-Spanish words’ meanings change according to the syllables, assuming the stress in a phrase or a sentence, but not according to the tones. Moreover, in a seminar paper, Patel and Daniele (2003) (ctd. in Magne, Aramaki, Astesano, Leign Gordon, Ystad, Farner, Kronland-Martinet & Besson, 2005) tested the hypothesis that the language of a culture influences the music of that culture. Accordingly, the prosody of a composer’s native language might influence the structure of her / his music. Patel and Daniele (2003) compare speech and music from England to those from France, since English and French provide prototypical examples of stress- timed versus syllable-timed languages. As a result of this study, it is concluded that it is evident that the rhythmic structure is processed on-line in both language and music. We can also mention that both Turkish and Judeo-Spanish are both stress-timed, and syllable- timed languages for their properties, specified above, and for Judeo-Spanish language has many words originated from some Turkish and Italian words. Both Turkish and Italian can be regarded as both syllable-timed and stress-timed languages. Considering all of these previous studies, in this paper I intend to show that Turkish people cannot interpret the emotions hidden in the words and grammatical structures of Judeo-Spanish songs without knowing the language. But I also argue that the rhythmic properties of Judeo-Spanish words give clues on the emotions expressed in texts.
  4. 4. 4 2. BRAIN MECHANISMS FOR SPEECH AND MUSIC PROCESSING Brodmann’s areas below in Figure 1 show each part involved in music and speech perception, and how these can be processed in the human brain. Fig 1. BRODMANN’S AREAS
  5. 5. 5 Brodmann's # NAME FUNCTION 17 Occipital Lobe Visual Projection Cortex 18 Visual Association Cortex 19 Posterior Parietal Lobe Visual Association Cortex 37 Tempero-pariteal-occipital area General Sensory Association Cortex 39 Angular Gyrus Word Recognition 40 Supramarginal Lobe Somatosensory Association Cortex 1,2,3 Postcentral Gyrus Somatosensory Projection Cortex 5, 7 Superior Parietal Lobule General Sensory Association Cortex 41, 42 Middle 1/3 of Superior Temporal Cortex Auditory Projection Cortex 22 Superior Temporal Gyrus Auditory Association Cortex 21, 20, 38 Inferior Temporal Cortex General Sensory Association Cortex 4 Precentral Gyrus Primary Motor Cortex 6,8,9 Premotor Cortex Motor Association Cortex 44,45,46 Broca's Area Motor Association Cortex - Specific to speech 10 Preftontal Cortex General Motor Association Cortex 11 Orbital Gyri General Motor Association Cortex (from: http://www.class.uidaho.edu/psyc372/lessons/lesson03/lesson3_brodmann_area.htm) The language cortex helps to the processing of both songs and speech sounds. For understanding the link between vision, hearing, touching and speech or language production, and the roles of the appropriate organs, we can refer to two principles, which can be regarded as intuitively acceptable: 1) To a large extent each of the subsystems may be subserved by a geographically coherent area of the cortex, and 2) areas, which are connected to two or more other areas, should be roughly intermediate in location between areas to which they are connected, as the other things are equal. Thus, lexical nections should be in intermediate locations between conceptual nections and phonological nections; conceptual nections for objects that are both visible and audible should be in an
  6. 6. 6 area intermediate between the visual and auditory areas of the cortex. Therefore, our nerves get motivated through our five senses; but at this point, a question comes to our mind: Which nerves are activated, hearing speech sounds of an unknown language and a scarce knowledge of music? Some grammatical structures and words evoke deep emotions. Without any knowledge of a different culture and language, it is hard to guess which emotions can be evoked by the music and linguistic structures of an unknown language of an unknown culture. Without knowing the meaning of a word, we cannot dream about a concept, existing in the universe. Phonological recognition depends on the imagination of a concept about which we have already heard, or that we have seen; we can imagine a concept thinking about all of its particularities. It is very difficult to talk about the emotion we felt listening to a song in a foreign language that we do not know. But let’s observe how the phonemes are processed in our mind. Lamb (1999) proposes a subdivision of the Wernicke’s area in such a way that the lowest levels of phonological recognition can be the most anterior, and the highest levels the most posterior within that area. The process of phonological production is similar to the following: Its lowest levels should be the most posterior - closest to the primary motor area - and the higher levels more anterior and possibly also more superior, and the higher levels of the two phonological areas are more distant from one another than the lower levels. The nections – nerves - in the left hemisphere work in these activities, because the linguistic system is there, in the left hemisphere. The primary auditory area is not close to the primary motor area. Thus, we need long-distance connections. Additionally, a bundle of connections exists. It is the ARCUATE FASCICULUS (“arcuate - big curved - bundle”); see figure 2 (from: http://neuro.psyc.memphis.edu/ugp/ugp-i-cortex3.htm: Fig. 2. Language system in the human brain
  7. 7. 7 Now it is time to discover whether people can understand which emotions a song whose words they cannot understand really evokes. 3. DATA I organized an experiment in an illuminated room, where the participants listened to seven pieces of Judeo-Spanish songs. Ten university students, speaking just English and Turkish well, participated voluntarily to this study. They could not speak any Romance languages. They all had a scarce knowledge about music. A cassette player was used to play the songs. The participants listened to the songs entitled “Mira” (“Look”), “Ay Senyora Novia” (“Oh, Mrs. Bride”), “Me siento alegre” (“I feel happy”), “Viejos Amores” (“Old Loves”), and “Te Tomi” (“I took you”) of Jak and Janet Esim, and “La Roza Enflorese” (“The Blossoming Rose”), “Dame El Bokaliko” (“Give me the Bottle”), and “Los Kaminos de Sirkeci” (“The Streets of Sirkeci”) of the new group Sefarad. The experiment consisted of two parts: First, the participants wrote down the emotions they had, and the reasons for which they felt so, listening to the songs, taking into account the words and the whole song; second, they chose the emotions they felt in a multiple choice test. The emotions to be chosen were fear, joy, love, happiness, sadness, and pain. 4. JUDEO-SPANISH EMOTION PROTOTYPES PERCEIVED BY TURKS In this study, I examined various emotions felt by Turks via guessing and rhythmic variances. In this part, I observed the various uses of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, gerunds, and the word order of the sentences. Their different uses lead to diverse rhythmic effects, and as a result of these to diverse emotions felt by the listener. 4.1. THE ROLE OF ADJECTIVES IN EVOKING EMOTIONS In this study, I analyzed the emotions evoked by totally thirteen Judeo-Spanish adjectives used in seven songs. What I found out was that the adjective phrase “en poko merakli” (“a bit curious”) was understood, and created happiness in 5 participants, in 3 fear, in 2
  8. 8. 8 love, all participants managed to understand the phrase, as “merakli” (“curious”) is a Turkish word. But nobody was able to derive the meaning of the adjectival phrase “Yenos de arena” (“full of land”), though the word led to happiness in 4 participants for its plural form, sadness in 6 for its rhythm. The adjectives “alegre” (“joyful”) and “kontente” (“happy”) were interpreted as signs of happiness by all the participants, who told that this was due to the consequent use of two consonants in ‘-gre’ and in ‘-nte’. Concerning the adjectival phrase “lindo kuerpo” (“pure body”), 7 participants thought that the adjective “lindo” (“pure”) was harmonious, and rhythmic, and an indicator of happiness. 3 participants thought that the adjective might have a spiritual meaning, for the syllable ‘-lin’, but they did not choose any of the emotions among the choices in the test. 4 participants interpreted the adjective “grande” (“big”) in “grande ventura” (“great fortune”) as fearful, guessing the meaning of the adjective, but 2 as unhappy, since they thought that the adjective with the noun it attaches, means ‘a great pain’, 3 as happy, thinking that ‘grande’ means ‘big’, and only happiness can be great and huge. Just one participant was neutral about the adjective. In interpreting the phrase “viejos amores” (“old loves”), all the participants supposed that the emotions explained by this adjective can indicate an unhappy event; they were right, as the song was on the reminiscence of the author on the past loves he lived. On the phrase, “sakra emosion” (“sacred emotion”), half of the participants interpreted the adjective as an indicator of happiness, making a guess, thinking about the English word ‘sugar’, but 3 participants thought that the adjective’s meaning should be mysterious, miraculous, magical, or thankful, they were neutral, though. These participants thought about the Arabic word ‘Sukran’, the singer ‘Shakira’, and the mysterious world of astrology, the word ‘chakra’; only two participants interpreted that the adjective could mean ‘sacred’, they just compared the adjective with its English counterpart, but they did not indicate the emotion they felt.
  9. 9. 9 When it comes to the phrase “kruel korason”, all the participants agreed that the adjective “kruel” was an indicator of pain, as they guessed this from its English counterpart “cruel”. When all the participants were asked about the feelings evoked by the phrase “tanto dulses karesas” (“very sweet hugs”), just 4 participants interpreted the adjective, as a fear-evoking one. They did so, meditating on the Turkish verb ‘düşmek’ (to fall). There are phonological similarities between the two nouns, as both begin with ‘-d’ and the former is followed by the vowel ‘-u’, almost similar to the other one in the Turkish verb ‘-ü’, but the rest told that the use of this adjective gives happiness to them, since the phonemes [l] and [s] are used together. All the participants told that the use of the adjective “pretos” (“black”) in the adjective phrase “ojos –‘eyes’- pretos – ‘black’-” (“black eyes”) made them happy; they guessed the meaning as beautiful from the English word ‘pretty’; but they could not interpret it as neither dark nor black. Besides, hearing the adjective phrase “ojos –‘eyes’ mavis – ‘blue’-” (“blue eyes”), all the participants were happy to hear the adjective ‘mavi’ here, as it is the same in Turkish. They also told that they were influenced by the adjective agreement suffixes for the plural, feminine, and masculine forms, and the replacement of adjectives after the nouns. These uses are ungrammatical in Turkish. Now it is time to observe the emotions evoked by Judeo-Spanish adverbs. 4.2. THE ROLE OF ADVERBS Concerning the emotions felt by the participants due to diverse uses of adverbs, they were asked about the emotions they felt for the uses of two adverbs, the first was “presto” (“quickly”), which evoked happiness in 3 participants, love in 2 participants, and unhappiness in 5 participants. However, “debasho” (“down”) led to sadness in all the participants due to its first syllable (prefix) ‘-de’, as they all knew that “-de” was a negativizer. 4.3. THE REPETITION OF WORDS
  10. 10. 10 All of the participants agreed that the repetition of words in sentences gave them joy, concerning (1), but (2) created a feeling of hostility in all the participants, all of whom understood the meaning of “no” (“not”), thus all felt sadness in this case. (1) “dame’l bokaliko bokaliko de raki” (“give me the bottle the bottle of raki”) (2) no puedo, no puedo ke me esto penyando (“I cannot, I cannot, as I am suffering”) 4.4. GERUNDS Regarding gerunds, (3) and (4) made all the ten participants felt sadness due to the rhythm with which it was told. Five participants found that the gerund suffix “–ando / - endo” was the emotion-provoking part of a clause. (3) “sufriendo” in “Mi alma s’eskurese sufriendo del amor” (“My soul wandered suffering from love”) (4) pensando en ti (“thinking about you”) Let’s think about that Turkish is a SOV (Subject-Object-Verb), but Judeo-Spanish is a SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) language in the next chapter. 4.5. THE ROLE OF THE WORD ORDER IN JUDEO-SPANISH SONGS In (5) the sound values of the initial word “debasho” (“down”), the third plural present tense form of the verb “sufrir” (“to suffer”), thus, “sufren” (they derived its meaning from the English verb “to suffer”) made all the participants feel sadness caused by a platonic love. (5) “Debasho se asentan Los ke sufren del amor” “The ones, who suffer from love, feel themselves sad” (“La Roza Enflorese”, “The Blossoming Rose”) Hearing a sentence like (6) gave happiness to all, “yenos” (full, plural), and Sirkeci were the words that revealed happiness to all. (6) “las kaminos de Sirkeci son yenos de arena” “The streets of Sirkeci are full of arena.” In (7) all felt happiness, because of the clitic reduplication in the sentence that does not exist in Turkish. This is the clitic reduplication encountered in the song: “me …a mi” (“me…to me”). This is common in Spanish as well as in Judeo-Spanish.
  11. 11. 11 (7) “El mi padre me dyo a mi kampos i vinyas” (“my father gave me - to me – fields and wineyards”). Finally, (8) made 3 participants feel sad, because of the use of the word “fidalitates” (“fidelity”) at the beginning of the sentence. In the sentence the word order is not the usual one, the common word order should have been: “espero de ti fidalitates, …” (“I expect from you fidelity…”; its correct is English version: “I expect fidelity from you until the day I die”) . The usage of “fidelitates” at the beginning of the sentence made 6 participants feel fear due to its rhythm. Though, one participant felt love in this utterance, as she knew that fidelity means sincerity, and guessed that the word “fidelitates” means “fidelity”. She liked not only the tone, but also the syllables of words in the sentence. (8) “Fidelidades de ti esprero, fin el dia ke yo vo murir.” (“Fidelity I expect from you, until the day I die.”) 5. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION To conclude, I can say that words play the most crucial part in music and in the cultural theory. A person, belonging to a different culture cannot understand neither the rhythmic values of the music of the songs nor the words of this song, but can feel diverse emotions linked to the words and grammatical structures used in the sentences of these songs, which also provide a rhythmic harmony to the songs. These emotion evoking factors related to language include the repetition of words, gerunds, the word order differences between the native language and the unknown language, the use of adjectives, gender affixes, and also the syllables of Ladino; this is what I observed in the Turkish, who listened to Judeo-Spanish songs without understanding them completely. In fact, language is the most important communication tool among the humans, as this study shows. In Judeo-Spanish songs the words are more prominent than the rhythm in evoking emotions. The language of a cultural group is its mine for emotions, as words evoke emotions, and words vitalize the musical notes by transforming them into songs. In the future, a more detailed analysis with a magnetic resonance instrument should be conducted on the same topic for observing the brain mechanisms involved in processing the language without understanding it totally.
  12. 12. 12 6. REFERENCES Aniruddh D. Patel: “Syntactic Processing in Language and Music: Different Cognitive Operations, Similar Neural Resources?”, Music Perception, Vol. 16, No. 1, Fall 1998 Cyrille Magne, Mitsuko Aramaki, Corine Astesano, Reyna Leigh Gordon, Sølvi Ystad, Snorre Farner, Richard Kronland-Martinet & Mireille Besson: “Comparison of Rhythmic Processing in Language and Music: An Interdisciplinary Approach”, A project report, Institut de Neurosciences Cognitives de la Méditerranée (INCM) - CNRS, Marseille, France & Laboratoire de Mécanique et d’Acoustique (LMA) - CNRS, Marseille, France), 2005 Diana Deutsch & Trevor Henthorn: “Absolute Pitch, Speech, and Tone Language: Some Experiments and a Proposed Framework”, Music Perception, Vol. 21, No. 3, Spring 2004 Jak Esim:”Yahudi Musikisi,” Dünden bugüne İstanbul Ansiklopedisi. Vol. 7., 1994. Karen Gerson-Sharhon: “Judeo-Espanyol dil ve kültürü,” Görüş, September 2003 Sydney Lamb: Pathways of the Brain. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1999 WEB SOURCES; Idaho University, ‘Course: Psyc372’; class notes http://www.class.uidaho.edu/psyc372/lessons/lesson03/lesson3_brodmann_area.htm Memphis University, ‘Brain’ http://neuro.psyc.memphis.edu/ugp/ugp-i-cortex3.htm
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