The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us

The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us

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by James W. Pennebaker
     
 

We spend our lives communicating—we connect with family, communicate our needs, and increasingly, earn our livings by putting thoughts into words. In the past 150 years, we've zoomed from quill pens through radio to texts, blogs, and social media. We're generating more and more words every moment of every day. Hiding in that deluge of language are amazing

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Overview

We spend our lives communicating—we connect with family, communicate our needs, and increasingly, earn our livings by putting thoughts into words. In the past 150 years, we've zoomed from quill pens through radio to texts, blogs, and social media. We're generating more and more words every moment of every day. Hiding in that deluge of language are amazing facts about who we are and how we feel.

 

In The Secret Life of Pronouns, language psychologist James Pennebaker uses his groundbreaking research into word frequency and computational linguistics to show that the words we use carry secrets about our emotions, our identities, and our social intelligence. Using innovative techniques and insightful surveys—including quizzes you can take yourself—Pennebaker spins through pop culture, Craigslist ads, the Federalist Papers and more as examples of how word choice can reveal our emotions, identities, income level and more.

 

You'll learn why it's bad when politicians use "we" instead of "I," what Yeats and Rosie O'Donnell have in common, how Ebenezer Scrooge's use of language hints at his self-deception and repressed emotions. Nixon's collapsing self-confidence, Rudy Giuliani and King Lear make cameo appearances as well in this breathtaking, brainy romp through language.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608194803
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
08/30/2011
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
635,306
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter 1 Discovering the Secret Life of the Most Forgettable Words 1

Chapter 2 Ignoring the Content, Celebrating the Style 18

Chapter 3 The Words of Sex, Age, and Power 39

Chapter 4 Personality: Finding the Person Within 73

Chapter 5 Emotion Detection 104

Chapter 6 Lying Words 131

Chapter 7 The Language of Status, Power, and Leadership 170

Chapter 8 The Language of Love 196

Chapter 9 Seeing Groups, Companies, and Communities Through Their Words 227

Chapter 10 Word Sleuthing 255

Appendix A Handy Guide for Spotting and Interpreting Function Words in the Wild 291

Notes 301

Bibliography and References 319

Index 335

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