Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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Canadian Scholars’ Press
324 pages
6 x 9 inches
August 2008
Print ISBN: 9781551303475


Language is the core of human culture - anthropologists have always put it at the centre of their agenda. So too have many linguists. The amalgam of the two disciplines, anthropological linguistics, aims to document and examine how language mirrors social structure and culture-specific thought patterns. Language, Society, and Culture provides a concrete method for studying the relation between language and society.

Intended for use in introductory-level courses in linguistics that adopt a cultural focus, this text is also suitable for supplementary use in more theoretical linguistics courses. Written in Danesi's accessible and engaging style, highlighting the fascinating and vital work going on in anthropological linguistics, this book will also appeal to a broad audience of language students, scholars, and enthusiasts.

Related Titles

Table of Contents


1. What Is Language?
Defining Language
Language and Speech
Learning to Speak
Language and Society
Language and Culture

2. Studying Language
The Scientific Approach to Language
Anthropoligical Linguistics
Linguistic Analysis
Language, Mind, and Culture
Language, Discourse, and Variation

3. The Origin and Evolution of Language
Core Vocabularies
Language Change
Primate Language Experiments

4. Language Levels
Describing Language
The Phonological Level
The Morphological Level
The Syntactic Level
The Semantic Level


5. Language and Social Phenomena
Language and Gender
Markedness Theory
Language and Style
Naming People
Artificial Languages

6. Using Language
Conversational Devices
Speech Acts
Situational Focusing
Language Functions
Language and Myth

7. Writing
Writing Systems
Abbreviated Writing
Online Communication

8. Variation
Variant Types


9. Language and Classification
The Whorfian Hypothesis
Specialized Vocabularies
Made-up Languages

10. Language and Concepts
Sound Symbolism
Words and Concepts
Grammar and Thought

11. Metaphor
What Is Metaphor?
Conceptual Metaphors
Metonymy and Irony
Metaphor and Gesture
Cultural Reifications

12. Pop Language
What Is Pop Language?
Hip Talk
Hip Talk and Gender
Concluding Remarks

Glossary of Technical Terms

Marcel Danesi

Marcel Danesi is Professor of Semiotics and Linguistic Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. His main research interests are semiotic theory and youth culture. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Semiotica, the official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies.

Sign, Thought, and Culture, The Sign in Theory and Practice, Imaginative Basis of Thought and Culture, From Flappers to Rappers, Language, Society, and Culture, Language, Society, and Culture: Exercise and Activity Manual, Linguistic Anthropology, Messages, Signs, and Meaning, Third Edition, Geeks, Goths, and Gangstas

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