LINGUIST List 31.2989

Thu Oct 01 2020

Books: Words Matter: McConnell-Ginet

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 01-Oct-2020
From: Rachel Tonkin <>
Subject: Words Matter: McConnell-Ginet
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Title: Words Matter
Subtitle: Meaning and Power
Published: 2020
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Sally McConnell-Ginet
Hardback: ISBN: 9781108427210 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 79.99
Hardback: ISBN: 9781108427210 Pages: Price: U.K. £ 59.99
Hardback: ISBN: 9781108427210 Pages: Price: Europe EURO 70.01
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108445900 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 23.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108445900 Pages: Price: U.K. £ 17.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108445900 Pages: Price: Europe EURO 21.00

History and current affairs show that words matter - and change - because they are woven into our social and political lives. Words are weapons wielded by the powerful; they are also powerful tools for social resistance and for reimagining and reconfiguring social relations. Illustrated with topical examples, from racial slurs and sexual insults to preferred gender pronouns, from ethnic/racial group labels to presidential tweets, this book examines the social contexts which imbue words with potency. Exploring the role of language in three broad categories - establishing social identities, navigating social landscapes, and debating social and linguistic change - Sally McConnell-Ginet invites readers to examine critically their own ideas about language and its complicated connections to social conflict and transformation. Concrete and timely examples vividly illustrate the feedback loop between words and the world, shedding light on how and why words can matter.

Getting Started; 1. Labeling: “What are you, anyway?”; 2. Marking/Erasing: “Instead of saying 'normal Americans', you can just say 'Americans'”; 3. Generalizing: “All the Women were White, All the Blacks were Men, but Some of Us were Brave”; 4. Addressing: “All right, my man...keep your hands on the steering wheel; 5. Putting Down: “[They] aren't people – they're animals”; 6. Reforming/Resisting: “It's like a kind of sexual racism”; 7. Authorizing: “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean...[but who] is to be master?”; 8. Concluding.

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 01-Oct-2020