Language as Symbolic Power

 Written by Claire Kramsch, author of Language as Symbolic Power

When twenty years ago I decided to teach an undergraduate course on Language and Power in my German department at UC Berkeley,  I didn’t have any other purpose in mind than to share my newly acquired insights into post-structuralist approaches to language study with students who were learning a foreign language. As they were working hard to acquire French or German and to develop the ability to communicate with foreign others, I wanted to show them how much more there is to language than just grammar and vocabulary. Why, behind their choices of what to say, what not to say, and how to say it, there was a whole power game going . . . → Read More: Language as Symbolic Power

Developing intercultural competence through Avatar, Black Panther and the Jungle Book?

Book cover for The Cambridge Handbook of Intercultural Communication

Written by Guido Rings – co-author of The Cambridge Handbook of Intercultural Communication

In a connected world, the ability to communicate effectively with people from other cultural backgrounds is a necessity. It is also an opportunity to widen our horizon and learn from good practice elsewhere to improve our lives.

But how can we improve that competence?

There are numerous ways, but we could for instance choose more wisely what we watch and read, and could do this more consciously. We may have already actually watched or read something that enhances our intercultural competence, but we are not aware of it.

For example, who has not watched Avatar, Black Panther or The Jungle Book, some of the highest-grossing movies of all time? Or more . . . → Read More: Developing intercultural competence through Avatar, Black Panther and the Jungle Book?

An interview with Susan Gal and Judith T. Irvine

Cover for Signs of Difference book

Susan Gal (University of Chicago) and Judith T. Irvine (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) discuss their new book Signs of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social Life.

Firstly, tell us what motivated you to write Signs of Difference?

Our interest in collaboration began some years ago when we discovered a curious parallel in our findings from the two very different places where we had done research: small towns in Senegal and Hungary. Our collaboration started with those unexpected parallels between our separate ethnographic projects. Reading each other’s papers and listening to each other at AAA meetings, we saw amazingly similar processes in two fieldsites that were utterly worlds apart.

The happy result has been a semiotic approach to difference, an approach that is much wider . . . → Read More: An interview with Susan Gal and Judith T. Irvine

Interview with Sali A. Tagliamonte

SALI A. TAGLIAMONTE is Canada Research Chair in Language Variation and Change and a Full Professor and Chair of the Linguistics Department at the University of Toronto, Canada. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. She is the author of six books, including: Making Waves, Variationist Sociolinguistics (Wiley-Blackwell 2012, 2015) and Analysing Sociolinguistic Variation, Roots of English and Teen Talk (CUP 2006, 2013, 2016). She has published on African American varieties, British, Irish and Canadian dialects, teen language and television across the major journals of the field. Her research has been funded by agencies in Canada, the US and UK. Her most recent research program is the Ontario Dialects Project, which focuses . . . → Read More: Interview with Sali A. Tagliamonte

Call for Editor Proposals – Language in Society

Professor Jenny Cheshire is completing her tenure in December 2019 as Editor of Language in Society (LiS). Cambridge University Press is now inviting applications for the position of Editor. A team of two Co-Editors will also be considered. Final appointment decisions will be made by the Syndicate of Cambridge University Press.

The deadline for applications is February 1, 2018.

Language in Society is an international journal of sociolinguistics concerned with language and discourse as aspects of social life. The journal publishes empirical articles of general theoretical, comparative or methodological interest to students and scholars in sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and related fields. LiS aims to strengthen international scholarship and interdisciplinary conversation and cooperation among researchers interested in language and society by publishing work of high quality which speaks to a . . . → Read More: Call for Editor Proposals – Language in Society

Leading phonetician, Klaus J. Kohler, invites you to discuss Communicative Functions and Linguistic Forms in Speech Interaction

Dear Reader of this Blog,

Cambridge University Press has published the linguistic monograph

Kohler, K. J. (2017). Communicative Functions and Linguistic Forms in Speech Interaction (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 156). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In this Blog I, the author, introduce it to you and draw your attention to its new scientific message for spoken-language research.

 

Let us begin with a couple of questions.

Are you interested in how speech communication works in human interaction?

Do you study speech forms as anchored in communicative functions?

If you are a phonetician or a linguist or a psychologist in speech recognition and understanding or a sociologist in speech communication and conversation analysis or a communications engineer your answer to both Polarity Questions should be positive, and . . . → Read More: Leading phonetician, Klaus J. Kohler, invites you to discuss Communicative Functions and Linguistic Forms in Speech Interaction

What is offside in German or Icelandic? Football English in European languages

Football

Based on an article in Nordic Journal of Linguistics, written by Gunnar Bergh and Sölve Ohlander.

“Football and English are the only truly global languages.” This statement, attributed to the legendary English footballer Sir Bobby Charlton, of 1966 World Cup fame and still to be seen at Old Trafford during Manchester United’s home games, neatly hints at the dual point of departure for this article. The present status of English as the most global language of all is not in doubt, nor is that of football (soccer) as the most widespread sport – or, rather, pop cultural phenomenon – on the planet, with a media presence bordering on obsession. Consequently, football language, i.e. the language used in communication about the game (on and off the pitch, . . . → Read More: What is offside in German or Icelandic? Football English in European languages

Hipsters in the hood: Authentication in young men’s hip hop talk

A limited number of studies have approached the topic of hip-hop authenticity with an analytic focus on discourses/ideologies rather than linguistic style and even fewer studies have investigated what we might call ‘third sphere’ of hip hop, that is, interaction among Hip Hop fans and activists. This study study aims to demonstrate the value of moving the study of authenticity in relation to hip hop from a consideration of (the indexicality of) linguistic style towards a focus on discourse and ideological meanings. . . . → Read More: Hipsters in the hood: Authentication in young men’s hip hop talk

Some unsolved questions about the languages of the Jews

written by Professor Bernard Spolsky

It’s great to be relevant! A few weeks after my sociolinguistic history of the Jewish people was published, a Reuters story highlighted a dispute between the visiting Pope Francis and the Israeli Prime Minister over the language spoken by Jesus (Reuter, 28 May 2014). “Jesus spoke Hebrew”, Netanyahu stated.  “Aramaic”, responded the Pope. He almost certainly knew both Hebrew and Aramaic, and also Greek (and maybe a little Latin), I would have answered, as I did in one of the earliest studies that I published that marked my growing interest in the language of the Jews.

But this disagreement turns out to be only one the many examples of disputes that I found in my research.  There are, I learned, . . . → Read More: Some unsolved questions about the languages of the Jews

A note on Register, or Level of Language, in Spanish

By Ronald Batchelor

A most dominant factor in the use of language is register, or variety or level of language determined by the communicative situation in which the speaker/writer finds herself/ himself. In other words, the level of language we resort to depends, to a very large extent, on whether we are speaking with friends, which would attract a colloquial style, writing a letter, delivering a lecture involving a standard style, or writing a book frequently entailing a formal, elevated style of expression. Levels of language may therefore differ over a range from informal to formal, and are determined by four factors: sex, age, professional or social status, and intimacy. All these features affect, in varying degrees, the way we use language . . . → Read More: A note on Register, or Level of Language, in Spanish