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Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication

John Gumperz (Editor), Dell Hymes (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-631-14987-3
612 pages
January 1991, Wiley-Blackwell
Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication (0631149872) cover image


Directions in Sociolinguistics is a now classic collection of pioneering essays by leading sociolinguists. It is published here for the first time in paperback and incorporates an extensive new bibliography.
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Table of Contents


Introduction: John J. Gumperz.

Plan of the Book.

Part I: Ethnographic Description and Explanation.

1. Models of the Interaction of Language and Social Life: Dell Hymes.

2. Culture Patterning of Speech Behavior in Burundi: Ethel M. Albert.

3. “Struck by Speech”: The Yakan Concept of Litigation: Charles O. Frake.

4. The Strategy of Turkish Boys' Verbal Dueling Rhymes, Alan Dundes, Jerry W. Leach, and Bora Özkök.

5. Signifying and Marking: Two Afro-American Speech Acts: Claudia Mitchell-Kernan.

6. Riddles: Expressive Models of Interrogation: John M. Roberts and Michael L. Forman.

Part II: Discovering Structure in Speech.

7. On Sociolinguistic Rules: Alternation and Co-occurrence: Susan Ervin-Tripp.

8. Context and Alternation in Koya Kinship Terminology: Stephen A. Tyler.

9. Social Context and Semantic Feature: The Russian Pronominal Usage: Paul Friedrich.

10. Remarks on Ethnomethodology: Harold Garfinkel.

11. On the Analyzability of Stories by Children: Harvey Sacks.

12. Sequencing in Conversational Openings: Emanuel A. Schegloff.

13. A Kinesic-Linguistic Exercise: The Cigarette Scene: Ray L. Birdwhistell.

Part III: Genesis, Maintenance, and Change of Linguistic Codes.

14. Social Meaning in Linguistic Structures: Code-Switching in Norway: Jan-Petter Blom and John J. Gumperz.

15. Domains and the Relationship between Micro- and Macrosociolinguistics: Joshua A. Fishman.

16. Ethnic Process on the Pathan-Baluch Boundary: Fredrik Barth.

17. A Sociolinguistic Approach to Socialization; with Some Reference to Educability: Basil Bernstein.

18. The Stylistic Significance of Consonaantal Sandhi in Trukese and Ponapean: John L. Fischer.

19. On the Mechanism of Linguistic Change: William Labov.

Appendix I: Background Reading.

Appendix II: Outline Guide for the Ethnographic Study of Speech Use: Joel Sherzer and Regna Darnell.


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Author Information

John J. Gumpertz is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dell Hymes is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • proceeds from the assumption that we may learn from language as interactional behaviour and illustrates advances in theoretical insights and changes in research interests

  • invaluable collection of articles by some of the most eminent researchers in sociolinguistics and in the sociology and anthropology of language

  • includes extensive bibliography
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"Classic and ground-breaking -- highly influential in the development of sociolinguistics." Peter Trudgill

"It's hardly possible to claim to know anything about the field of sociolinguistics without having read the articles in that collection. A number of them are classics in the field, by any standards." Ralph W. Fasold

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