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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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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

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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: Calling for Help
Subtitle: Language and social interaction in telephone helplines
Edited By: Carolyn Baker
Michael Emmison
Alan Firth
URL: http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=P%26bns%20143
Series Title: Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 143

Telephone helplines have become one of the most pervasive sites of
expert-lay interaction in modern societies throughout the world. Yet
surprisingly little is known of the in situ, language-based processes of
help-seeking and help-giving behavior that occurs within them. This
collection of original studies by both internationally renowned and
emerging scholars seeks to improve upon this state of affairs. It does so
by offering some of the first systematic investigations of
naturally-occurring spoken interaction in telephone helplines. Using the
methods of Conversation Analysis, each of the contributors offers a
detailed investigation into the skills and competencies that callers and
call-takers routinely draw upon when engaging one another within a range of
helplines. Helplines in the US, the UK, Australia, Scandinavia, The
Netherlands, and Ireland, dealing with the provision of healthcare,
emotional support and counselling, technical assistance and consumer
rights, tourism and finance, make up the studies in the volume.
Collectively and individually, the research provides fascinating insight
into an under-researched area of modern living and demonstrates the
relevance and potential of helplines for the growing field of institutional

This book will be of interest to students of communication, applied
linguistics, discourse and conversation, sociology, counselling, technology
and work, social psychology and anthropology.

Table of contents

Notes on contributors xi–xiv

Preface xv–xvii

Calling for help: An introduction
Alan Firth, Michael Emmison and Carolyn Baker 1–35

Technical assistance

Calibrating for competence in calls to technical support
Carolyn Baker, Michael Emmison and Alan Firth 39–62

Collaborative problem description in help desk calls
Hanneke Houtkoop, Frank Jansen and Anja Walstock 63–89

The metaphoric use of space in expert-lay interaction about computing systems
Wilbert Kraan 91–105

Emotional support

The mitigation of advice: Interactional dilemmas of peers on a telephone
support service
Christopher Pudlinski 109–131

Four observations on openings in calls to Kids Help Line
Susan Danby, Carolyn Baker and Michael Emmison 133–151

'I just want to hear somebody right now': Managing identities on a
telephone helpline
Hedwig te Molder 153–173

Healthcare provision

Callers' presentations of problems in telephone calls to Swedish primary care
Vesa Leppanen 177–205

Constructing and negotiating advice in calls to a poison information center
Hakan Landqvist 207–234

Consumer assistance

Opportunities for negotiation at the interface of phone calls and
service-counter interaction: A case study
Denise Chappell 237–256

Institutionality at issue: The helpline call as a 'language game'
Brian Torode 257–283

Aspects of call management

Some initial reflections on conversational structures for instruction giving
Ged M. Murtagh 287–307

Working a call: Multiparty management and interactional infrastructure in
calls for help
Jack Whalen and Don H. Zimmerman 309–345

Name Index 347–348

Subject Index 349–351

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
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: 9027253862
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: xviii,352
Prices: Europe EURO 120.00
U.S. $ 162