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Oxford Handbook of Corpus Phonology

Edited by Jacques Durand, Ulrike Gut, and Gjert Kristoffersen

Offers the first detailed examination of corpus phonology and serves as a practical guide for researchers interested in compiling or using phonological corpora

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The Languages of the Jews: A Sociolinguistic History

By Bernard Spolsky

A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.

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Indo-European Linguistics

New Open Access journal on Indo-European Linguistics is now available!

Academic Paper

Title: Richard Buttny, Talking Problems: Studies of discursive construction
Author: Bonnie Uriciuoli
Linguistic Field: Not Applicable; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Richard Buttny, Talking problems: Studies of discursive construction. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004. Pp.ix, 214. Hb $45.00. Richard Buttney's Talking problems: Studies of discursive construction addresses the centrality of ordinary talk as a key site in the construction of human sociality and social reality. He characterizes talk about problems as a linguistic abstraction from actions or events that call for solutions. Such discourses have regular patterns which people routinely deploy as they tell their troubles and seek solutions to problems. How people structure such talk and position themselves and others in it provides insight into how those people identify themselves socially and operate within moral systems. Problems do not exist independently of the ways in which people perceive and evaluate both the problem situation and themselves. People position themselves as good, blameless, likable, and so on through what Buttny calls a “microlevel rhetoric.” Examination of that rhetoric sheds light on the interests at stake, since positioning means casting oneself or another in terms of specific, often moral characterizations (dutiful, realistic, happy, etc.) which are in turn related to one's membership category (social role, ethnic identity, etc.). Buttny thus builds on work in ethnomethodology and conversational analysis to develop a particular set of methods for the analysis of trouble-telling. He focuses, as he puts it, on communicative practices, positionings and constructions: “How problems get interactionally formed and oriented to, and how interlocutors position themselves in the course of such problem talk” (p. 9, italics in original). Buttny examines three areas of trouble-telling: teens talking about being young parents, therapy talk among clients and their therapist, and talk among college students about race relations. The book is organized into eight chapters: an introduction (summarized above) and conclusion, and two main sections of three chapters each, the first focusing on talking about problems, the second on reported speech about race.


This article appears in Language in Society Vol. 35, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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