“Hooked on Celebri[ɾ]y”

Intervocalic /t/ in the Speech and Song of Nina Nesbitt

  • Brandon Papineau University of Edinburgh


T-glottaling in Scotland has been studied as a salient linguistic variable, which has been found to index (in)formality, socio-economic class, and region, among other speaker and situational characteristics. Realisations of /t/ have also been studied in a musical context, where they have been found to be linked to genre and identity. This study examines Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, and her realisations of the intervocalic /t/ variable in both speech and song. She shows high rates of t-glottaling in speech, but within song, her realisations vary; the only significant predictor of /t/ realisations is song genre, where pop and pop folk songs favour [ɾ] realisations and acoustic songs favour the [t] realisation. T-glottaling is uncommon in all genres of her music. I argue that this variability is a strategy employed to create coherent musical identities that situate Nesbitt within the musical marketplaces in which she performs.