This volume combines papers selected for their affinity with work on discourse analysis and language typology. The methodological platform is the authors' conviction that all linguistic work needs to be empirical in the sense that (1) generalizations are to be made on the basis of spoken texts in larger contexts, (2) generalizations are correct only as long as pertinent linguistic material does not contradict them, and (3) that linguistic categories and rules are of a temporal nature. In this sense, the contributions represent 'functional typological' comparison, often of languages not frequently investigated.
In this important book, Lesley Jeffries introduces a phenomenon which has not been given the attention it deserves - the contextual construction of oppositional meaning. These are opposites not recognisable as such out of context but that are clearly set up this way in the text concerned. The significance of oppositional meaning is well-known, and has been discussed by scholars for millennia, from Philosophy to Politics. But the main emphasis has always been on the conventional opposite: the opposite recognised by lexical semantics.
Language not only expresses identities but also constructs them. Starting from that point, Language and Identity examines the interrelationships between language and identities. It finds that they are so closely interwoven, that words themselves are inscribed with ideological meanings. Words and language constitute meanings within discourses and discourses vary in power. The powerful ones reproduce more powerful meanings, colonize other discourses and marginalize or silence the least powerful languages and cultures. Language and culture death occur in extreme cases of marginalization.
Slang, writes Michael Adams, is poetry on the down low, and sometimes lowdown poetry on the down low, but rarely, if ever, merely lowdown. It is the poetry of everyday speech, the people's poetry, and it deserves attention as language playing on the cusp of art. In Slang: The People's Poetry, Adams covers this perennially interesting subject in a serious but highly engaging way, illuminating the fundamental question "What is Slang" and defending slang--and all forms of nonstandard English--as integral parts of the American language. Why is an expression like "bed head" lost in a lexical limbo, found neither in slang nor standard dictionaries?
This "little history” takes on a very big subject: the glorious span of literature from Greek myth to graphic novels, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to Harry Potter. John Sutherland is perfectly suited to the task. He has researched, taught, and written on virtually every area of literature, and his infectious passion for books and reading has defined his own life. Now he guides young readers and the grown-ups in their lives on an entertaining journey "through the wardrobe” to a greater awareness of how literature from across the world can transport us and help us to make sense of what it means to be human.
The Cultural Memory of Language looks at unintended monolingualism - a lack of language fluency in a migratory cultural situation where two or more languages exist at 'home'. It explores family history and childhood language acquisition and attrition. What is the present everday experience of language use and life between two cultures? Examining interview data, Samata uncovers a sense of inauthenticity felt by people who do not fully share a parent's first language. Alongside this features a sense of concurrent anger, and a need to assign blame.
In Articulate While Black, two renowned scholars of Black Language address language and racial politics in the U.S. through an insightful examination of President Barack Obama's language use--and America's response to it. In this eloquently written and powerfully argued book, H. Samy Alim and Geneva Smitherman provide new insights about President Obama and the relationship between language and race in contemporary society. Throughout, they analyze several racially loaded, cultural-linguistic controversies involving the President--from his use of Black Language and his "articulateness" to his "Race Speech," the so-called "fist-bump," and his relationship to Hip Hop Culture.