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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Book Information


Title: Talk and Practical Epistemology
Subtitle: The social life of knowledge in a Caribbean community
Written By: Jack Sidnell
URL: http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=P%26bns%20142
Series Title: Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 142

Drawing on the methods of conversation analysis and ethnography, this book
sets out to examine the epistemological practices of Indo-Guyanese
villagers as these are revealed in their talk and daily conduct. Based on
over eighty-five hours of conversation recorded during twelve months of
ethnographic fieldwork, the book describes both the social distribution of
knowledge and the villagers' methods for distinguishing between fact and
fancy, knowledge and belief through close analyses of particular
encounters. The various chapters consider uncertainty and expertise in
advice-giving, the cultivation of ignorance in an attempt to avoid scandal,
and the organization of peer groups through the display of knowledge in the
activity of reminiscing local history. An orienting chapter on questions
and an appendix provide an introduction to conversation analysis. The book
makes a contribution to linguistic anthropology, conversation analysis and
cross-cultural pragmatics. The conclusion discusses the implications of the
analysis for current understanding of practice, knowledge and social
organization in anthropology and neighboring disciplines.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements vii–ix
What is a transcript? xi–xv
1. Malinowski's complaint 1–18
2. Knowledge and talk-in-interaction 19–51
3. The village 53–74
4. The vernacular 75–82
5. Answering questions: A genealogy 83–106
6. Uncertainty and expertise in advice 107–129
7. Cultivated ignorance 131–150
8. Reminiscing local history 151–170
9. Policing knowledge 171–186
10. Conclusion: Knowledge, belief and action 187–206
Conversation analysis: A glossary and guide to the literature 207–221
Notes 223–238
References 239–251
Index 253–255

"This book demonstrates conclusively and richly the importance of studying
language in particular situations in order to understand the production of
meaning. It makes conversation analysis central to any account of practice,
and I find this a very bold but well-supported view. An adequate account of
human practice is an important goal and one that language scholars and
scholars of pragmatics have a lot to contribute to. It's very well written
and very erudite. This is an excellent book, which will be of great
interest to many anthropologists, linguists, sociologists, communication
and language scholars, as well as students of language use."
Elizabeth Keating, The University of Texas at Austin

"An excellent book that makes a real contribution to a range of fields
(linguistic anthropology, ethnography, conversation analysis, the sociology
of knowledge, etc.). Among the book's real strengths is its integration of
detailed analysis of language structure and the organization of talk with
crucial issues in philosophy and ethnography. The detailed analysis is both
insightful and substantive, and moreover the issues it raises and
demonstrates about the organization of knowledge as practice are very
important and original. This is an important, very original book that makes
genuine substantive contributions and opens up important topics for
discussion in a range of fields."
Charles Goodwin, UCLA

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Anthropological Linguistics
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9027253854
ISBN-13: 9789027253859
Pages: xvi, 255
Prices: U.S. $ 155
Europe EURO 115.00