The Linguistic Individual: Self-Expression in Language and Linguistics / Edition 1

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Overview

Linguists usually discuss language or dialects in terms of groups of speakers. Believing that patterns can be seen more clearly in the group than the individual, researchers often present group scores with no indication of the variation within the group. Even though linguists acknowledge that no two individuals speak alike, few study individual variation and voice.

Barbara Johnstone makes a case for the individual's importance and idiosyncrasies in language and linguistics. Using theoretical arguments and discourse analysis, along with linguistic examples from a variety of speakers and settings, Johnstone illustrates how speakers draw on linguistic models associated with class, ethnicity, gender, and region, among others, to construct an individual voice. In doing so Johnstone shows that certain important questions in sociolinguistics and pragmatics can only be answered with reference to individual speakers. Johnstone's study is important both for the understanding of speech as expressive of self, and for the study of variation and mechanisms of linguistic choice and change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Barbara Johnstone has written the sort of book I suspect many of us would like to write. She has woven various strands of her own personal approach to linguistics, but also might legitimately be said to present a fresh perspective on language-or better, on the ways we express ourselves to each other in talk. Those of us already engaged in discourse analysis will profit from Johnstone's focus on the individual voice and on the way it informs her analyses, while linguists of other stripes should read this book as an introduction to the new humanistic tendencies in the study of language."--Anthropological Linguistics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195101850
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Johnstone is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Texas A&M University.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Discourse, Society, and the Individual 3
Ch. 2 Resources and Reasons for Individual Style 26
Ch. 3 Individual Voice and Articulate Speaking 59
Ch. 4 Individual Variation in Scripted Talk 92
Ch. 5 Consistency and Individual Style 128
Ch. 6 Idiosyncracy and Its Interpretation 157
Ch. 7 Toward a Linguistics of the Individual Speaker 178
Notes 189
References 195
Index 209
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