The Social Meaning of Language by JB Pride

The Social Meaning of Language brings together the sibling sciences—psychology, sociology, anthropology, and all their compound and hyphenated forms—to discuss linguistics as a social science or, as it is now commonly known but was still emerging as at the time of its publication in 1971, sociolinguistics. (Yes, I know. Really.) This book collects and argues the ideas of the –ologists, men today’s students might google on their smart phones just before class. It examines how and why our speech functions range from unconscious to deliberate choices as we attempt to communicate with others who interpret our coded messages as intended and sometimes in unexpected ways. This surprisingly mod little book of complex ideas is valuable as a reminder that many textbook “facts” are not so much facts as accepted notions. Ideas like multi-dialectal speakers and second language acquisition theory—current terms in the field—are postulated and countered by the originators of the conceptions and their contemporaries. Such in-depth discussion will be especially appreciated by the student seriously studying the stuff of language and the social science enthusiast (if there is such a thing). Engage your left temporal lobe and peruse The Social Meaning of Language.

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