The Social Art: Language and Its Uses / Edition 2

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The Social Art is an engagingly written, highly accessible tour through the world of languages. Macaulay uses jokes, anecdotes, quotations, and examples to introduce readers to the full range of current linguistic knowledge, covering in 35 chapters, topics like language acquisition, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, dialects, conversation, narrative, swearing, and many others.

In this revised and expanded second edition, Macaulay brings the book up to date with the last decade of progress in linguistics, adding more American examples, and updating bibliographies. Two new chapters have been added, on theories of language development and on the evolution of language. The Social Art is perfect for general readers and students who want to learn about what it is that linguists do.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the previous edition: "To read Ronald Macaulay is to be party to a conversation with a thoroughly knowledgeable friend, in touch with current research, who neither talks down or above one's head, but shares. It is marvelously accessible and informative."—Dell Hymes, University of Virginia

Review of the previous edition: "As familiar and pedestrian as it seems, everyday speech conceals a world of mystery. Macaulay invites the reader to explore this world. ... Whether the topic is nursery rhymes, literature, dialects, rhetoric, or profanity, Macaulay sweeps aside the obvious and uncovers riddles and surprises. ... A delightful introduction to linguistics."—Booklist

Review of the previous edition: "[Macaulay] covers...just about every aspect of language you can imagine...[with] consummate, usually amusing examples of the topic at hand. ... He's a good synthesizer, citing interesting research."—The Los Angeles Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite its academic flavor, this survey of language will entertain the general reader. Its 33 short chapters range from children's language acquisition to semantics, syntax, creoles and language around the world. Macaulay, a linguistics professor at Pitzer College in California, highlights unspoken rules of conversation, decodes the puffery of advertisements, considers the finer points of insults and swearing and explains how the interactive nature of language affects what we say and how we say it. Calling Standard English a ``nonregional dialect'' promulgated by an educated minority, he argues that it may not be superior to nonstandard dialects in its logic, regularity or beauty. He also disputes the popular ``linguistic relativity theory,'' finding insufficient evidence for its proponents' claim that people's thought processes are molded by the particular language they speak. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195187960
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/6/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 849,359
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald K. S. Macaulay is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Pitzer College. He is the author of Language, Social Class and Education (1977), Locating Dialect in Discourse (1991), Standards and Variation in Urban Speech (1997), and Talk that Counts: Age, Gender, and Social Class Differences in Discourse (OUP, 2005). The first edition of The Social Art was published in 1995.

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Table of Contents

1 Give a Dog a Name 3
2 Learning One's First Language 7
3 The Act of Communicating 12
4 Prosodic Features 22
5 Learning About Words and Their Structure 28
6 Discovering the Structure of Language: Syntax 32
7 More Syntax 39
8 Still More Syntax 43
9 Semantics 47
10 Pragmatically Speaking 53
11 Variety 58
12 Regional Dialects 64
13 Social Class 70
14 Written Language 78
15 Register 86
16 Style 90
17 Sex Differences 95
18 The Magic of Words 101
19 Rhetoric 105
20 Conversation 111
21 Narratives 117
22 Learning a Second Language 123
23 Language Change 128
24 The History of English 134
25 Indo-European 145
26 Languages of the World 151
27 Language and Thought 159
28 Pronouns 164
29 Gender 168
30 Pidgins and Creoles 172
31 Literature 178
32 Children's Lore and Language 186
33 Envoi: Confessio Amantis 196
Further Reading 199
Glossary 207
Phonetic Symbols for English 223
References 225
Index 232
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