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Vox Popular: The Surprising Life of Language in the Media

Vox Popular: The Surprising Life of Language in the Media

Robin Queen

ISBN: 978-1-118-99135-0

Dec 2014, Wiley-Blackwell

288 pages



Our favorite movies and TV shows feature indelible characters who tell us about themselves not just in what they say but in how they say it. The creative decisions behind these voices—such as what accent or dialect to use—offer rich data for sociolinguistic study. Ideal for students of language variation as well as general readers interested in media, Vox Popular is an engaging tour through the major issues of sociolinguistic study as heard in the voices from mass media.

• Provides readers with a unified and accessible picture of the interrelationships between language variation and the mass media

• Presents detailed original analyses of multiple audiovisual media sources

• Includes a broad methods chapter covering quantitative and qualitative methods in a style not available in any other textbook

• All theoretical terms are accessibly explained, with engaging examples, making it suitable for non-academics as well as undergraduate students

• Incorporates pedagogical textboxes throughout and includes sections dedicated to developing practical skills for the field

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Preface and Acknowledgments vii

A Note on the Linguistic Conventions Used in Vox Popular x

Keywords Found in Each Chapter xiv

1 Language in a Mediated World 1

Mad Men in a Modern Family World 1

Why Does a Linguist Care about Mad Men or Modern Family? 3

Narrative Media as a Site for Linguistic Exploration 12

Language Variation in the Narrative Media 20

2 Exploring Language and Language Variation 25

Introduction 25

Languages and Dialects 27

The Components of a Grammar 32

All the Systems Work as a System 34

Systems of Variation 40

Language Change 47

3 Studying Language Variation in the Media 55

Introduction 55

Formulating a Research Question 56

Turning Narrative Media into Data 57

Analytic Orientation 58

Transcribing Your Data 61

Coding Your Data 66

Constructing a Corpus 69

Quantitative Methods 70

Qualitative Methods 75

Triangulating Your Evidence with Different Analytic Approaches 82

4 Dimensions of Variation 85

Introduction 85

Non-Linguistic/Linguistic 90

Spoken/Written 93

Non-Standard/Standard 97

Informal/Formal 101

Unplanned/Planned 104

Local/Global 107

Private/Public 110

Putting It All Together 114

5 Making Language Variation Meaningful 119

Introduction 119

Meaning 120

Indexical Meaning 124

Ideology 130

Ideology about Language 133

Ideology, Indexicality, and Power 138

6 Language Variation and Characterization 154

Introduction 154

Characterization and Language 156

Realness and Authenticity 160

Identity and Identification 163

Relational Identity 164

Norms and Types 168

Social Personae 172

Indexical Authenticity 176

7 Language as Narrative Action 183

Introduction 183

Performance and Speech Acts 185

Language as a Plot Device 193

Switching as Action 196

Taboo Language as Action 205

8 Connecting to the Audience 221

Introduction 221

Audiences 222

Audience Design 226

Setting Expectations for Viewers 230

Enregisterment 236

Stylization 242

Interacting with Audiovisual Media 246

The End 253

Index 258