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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."

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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.

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Dissertation Information

Title: A língua de Camoês com Iemanjá: forma e funções da linguagem do candomblé Add Dissertation
Author: Laura López Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Stockholm University, Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
Completed in: 2004
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): Portuguese
Director(s): Jan Anward
Lars Fant

Abstract: The present thesis addresses the relationship between the structure
and social functions of language through the study of an Afro-Brazilian
Portuguese speech community. The adopted methodological,
analytical, and theoretical standpoints have their origin in linguistic
anthropology, social psychology of language and discourse analysis. A
set of data was collected during extensive fieldwork in Salvador
(Brazil), and consists of recordings of informal conversations with and
between followers of Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion.

Focusing on the communicative process in a specific communicative
setting, the linguistic analyses illustrate the relationship between
language and identity by examining theway in which expressions of
African origin function as identity markers. In order to connect such
Africanisms used by Candomblé followers in their everyday speech with
the linguistic attitudes and ideologies found in Brazilian society
throughout history, an interdisciplinary approach was called for and
factors that affect the speech community’s ethnolinguistic vitality were
explored. Linguistic attitudes and ideologies that have influenced group
vitality were analyzed in the socio-political context (or macro-context).
At the same time, the purpose was to understand communication within
the sacred space of Candomblé by examining issues such as changes
in linguistic forms and functions in the communicative situation (or

Apart from revealing patterns of communication in Candomblé
communities, the results of the analyses show how linguistic changes
such as re-Africanization are triggered by changes of attitudes in
society. These changes affect speakers’ identities and language use
within speech communities.