Language as Social Action: Social Psychology and Language Use

Language as Social Action: Social Psychology and Language Use

Language as Social Action: Social Psychology and Language Use

Language as Social Action: Social Psychology and Language Use

Synopsis

This interdisciplinary synthesis of the social psychological aspects of language use provides an integrative and timely review of language as social action. The book successfully weaves together research from philosophy, linguistics, sociolinguistics, anthropology, social and cognitive psychology, pragmatics, and artificial intelligence. In this way, it clearly demonstrates how many aspects of social life are mediated by language and how understanding language use requires an understanding of its social dimension. Topics covered include: *speech act theory and indirect speech acts; *politeness and the interpersonal determinants of language; *language and impression management and person perception; *conversational structure, perspective taking; and *language and social thought. This volume should serve as a valuable resource for students and researchers in social psychology and communication who want a clear presentation of the linguistic underpinnings of social interaction. It will also be useful to cognitive psychologists and other language researchers who want a thorough examination of the social psychological underpinnings of language use. Although this book is relevant for a variety of disciplines, it is written in a clear and straightforward style that will be accessible for readers regardless of their orientation.

Excerpt

This book grew out of my interest in, and research on, various aspects of language use. Language, of course, is an extremely broad topic and one that is of interest to scholars in a variety of disciplines. As a social psychologist, my concern has been with language as social action, how social variables play a role in our use of language, and how language use plays a role in our social life. The topics I discuss in this book are all related in some way to these two general issues.

Research on the social bases of language use is widely scattered across a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, sociolinguistics, cognitive psychology, pragmatics, social psychology, communication, and others. My goal in writing this book was to bring together in one place research from these different areas so as to provide a fairly comprehensive, interdisciplinary summary and integrative review of the literature dealing with language as a social action. This is not an exhaustive book on language use; the topics I cover here are ones that I have found most illuminating and relevant for understanding the role played by language in social life. It is thus a selective review, but one that I think captures many of the most fundamental aspects of language as social action.

Although I draw from many different research traditions in this book, the material and my approach is probably most relevant for the areas of social psychology, cognitive psychology, and communication. Until recently, language . . .

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