Viewing language as a dynamic semiotic system that shapes and is shaped by cultural, social, and cognitive factors alike, the materials gathered in this new Major Work collection from Routledge explore how people in communities worldwide think about language, talk about language, use language, and change language. The collected works illustrate the ways in which language practices―spoken, written, and signed―are resources that participants use for creating social worlds and accomplishing a wide range of activities within those worlds. Furthermore, they demonstrate how analysts use linguistic and cultural practices, and the ideologies that shape them, to provide insights into the complexities of everyday, as well as less commonly occurring, social encounters.
Theoretical essays are complemented with readings that illustrate, integrate, and often advance these frameworks. Focus is on work that emphasizes the importance of cultural contexts in analysing the linguistic practices in which they are embedded; the role talk-in-interaction in establishing, maintaining, or transforming social realities; and the linguistic and communicative resources and strategies that speakers use in conforming others to their point of view. Selections range from investigations, for example, of how speakers create and assert identities in particular kinds of face-to-face interactions; how political institutions, including language academies and experts, attempt to regiment the language practices of particular communities, and how such attempts are resisted; and how various technologies and media, including literacy, radio, television, cellular telephones, and computers, are transforming communicative landscapes at local, national, transnational, and global levels.
Primarily drawing on the work of linguistic anthropologists, the collection will be of interest to those working in Social and Cultural Anthropology, the Sociology of Language, Sociolinguistics, Communications, Discourse Analysis, Language and Education, Rhetoric, and other fields in which scholars and students explore how language use creates and shapes social worlds.
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