LINGUIST List 31.1885

Mon Jun 08 2020

Books: Signs of Difference: Gal, Irvine

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 22-May-2020
From: Dan Iredale <>
Subject: Signs of Difference: Gal, Irvine
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Title: Signs of Difference
Subtitle: Language and Ideology in Social Life
Published: 2019
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Susan Gal
Author: Judith T. Irvine
Electronic: ISBN: 9781108650762 Pages: 326 Price: U.S. $ 20.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9781108491891 Pages: 326 Price: U.S. $ 89.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108741293 Pages: 326 Price: U.S. $ 24.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108741293 Pages: 326 Price: U.K. £ 19.99

How are peoples' ideas about languages, ways of speaking and expressive styles shaped by their social positions and values? How is difference, in language and in social life, made - and unmade? How and why are some differences persuasive as the basis for action, while other differences are ignored or erased? Written by two recognised authorities on language and culture, this book argues that ideological work of all kinds is fundamentally communicative, and that social positions, projects and historical moments influence, and are influenced by, people's ideas about communicative practices. Neither true nor false, ideologies are positioned and partial visions of the world, relying on comparison and perspective; they exploit differences in expressive features - linguistic and otherwise - to construct convincing stereotypes of people, spaces and activities. Using detailed ethnographic, historical and contemporary examples, this outstanding book shows readers how to analyse ideological work semiotically.

Prologue: questions and exhibits
Part I. Ethnography:
1. Wolof in Senegal
2. German-Hungarians in Hungary
Part II. Semiotics:
3. Ingredients: signs, conjectures, perspectives
4. Comparison: the semiotics of differentiation
5. Dynamics of change in differentiation
Part III. Sites:
6. Situating ideological work
7. Among and between sites
8. Scales and scale-making: connecting sites
Part IV. Pasts:
9. Library to field: ideologies in nineteenth-century linguistic research
Coda: avenues of inquiry.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
                            General Linguistics

Written In: English (eng)

See this book announcement on our website:

Page Updated: 08-Jun-2020