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New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information

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Title: Brevity
Edited By: Laurence Goldstein

Brevity in conversation is a window to the workings of the mind. This book brings it into prominence as both a multifaceted topic of deep philosophical importance and a phenomenon that serves as a testing ground for theories in linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computer modeling. Brevity is achieved in a variety of ways. Speakers use elliptical constructions and exploit salient features of the conversational environment in a process of pragmatic enrichment so as to pack as much as possible into a few words. They take account of what has already been said in the current and previous conversations, and tailor their words to what they know about the beliefs and personalities of the people they're talking to. Most of the time they do all this with no obvious mental effort.

The book, which brings together distinguished linguists, philosophers, and cognitive scientists, is the product of an interactive multidisciplinary research project that extended over four years. The questions dealt with concern how speakers secure understanding of what they mean when what they mean far outstrips the literal or compositional meanings of the sentences or sentence fragments that they use.

Brevity sheds new light on economy in discourse. It will appeal to linguists, philosophers, and psychologists at advanced undergraduate level and above.

Publication Year: 2013
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Philosophy of Language
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Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780199664986
Pages: 368
Prices: U.K. £ 70.00