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Language, Thought, and Reality

by Stephen C. Levinson Penny Lee Benjamin Lee Whorf John B. Carroll

The pioneering linguist Benjamin Whorf (1897--1941) grasped the relationship between human language and human thinking: how language can shape our innermost thoughts. His basic thesis is that our perception of the world and our ways of thinking about it are deeply influenced by the structure of the languages we speak. The writings collected in this volume include important papers on the Maya, Hopi, and Shawnee languages, as well as more general reflections on language and meaning. Whorf's ideas about the relation of language and thought have always appealed to a wide audience, but their reception in expert circles has alternated between dismissal and applause. Recently the language sciences have headed in directions that give Whorf's thinking a renewed relevance. Hence this new edition of Whorf's classic work is especially timely.The second edition includes all the writings from the first edition as well as John Carroll's original introduction, a new foreword by Stephen Levinson of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics that puts Whorf's work in historical and contemporary context, and new indexes. In addition, this edition offers Whorf's "Yale Report," an important work from Whorf's mature oeuvre.

Politeness: some universals in language usage

by Penelope Brown Stephen C. Levinson

This study is about the principles for constructing polite speech. The core of it first appeared in Questions and Politeness, edited by Esther N. Goody (now out of print). It is here reissued with a new introduction which surveys the now considerable literature in linguistics, psychology and the social sciences that the original extended essay stimulated, and suggests new directions for research. The authors describe and account for some remarkable parallelisms in the linguistic construction of utterances with which people express themselves in different languages and cultures. A motive for these parallels is isolated - politeness, broadly defined to include both polite friendliness and polite formality - and a universal model is constructed outlining the abstract principles underlying polite usages. This is based on the detailed study of three unrelated languages and cultures: the Tamil of South India, the Tzeltal spoken by Mayan Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, and the English of the USA and England, supplemented by examples from other cultures. Underneath the apparent diversity of polite behaviour in different societies lie some general pan-human principles of social interaction, and the model of politeness provides a tool for analysing the quality of social relations in any society. This volume will be of special interest to students in linguistic pragmatics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, anthropology, and the sociology and social psychology of interaction.

Pragmatics

by Stephen C. Levinson

Those aspects of language use that are crucial to an understanding of language as a system, and especially to an understanding of meaning, are the acknowledged concern of linguistic pragmatics. Yet until now much of the work in this field has not been easily accessible to the student, and was often written at an intimidating level of technicality. In this textbook, however, Dr Levinson has provided a lucid and integrative analysis of the central topics in pragmatics - deixis, implicature, presupposition, speech acts, and conversational structure. A central concern of the book is the relation between pragmatics and semantics, and Dr Levinson shows clearly how a pragmatic approach can resolve some of the problems semantics have been confronting and simplifying semantic analyses. The complexity of these issues is not disguised, but the exposition is always clear and supported by helpful exemplification. The detailed analyses of selected topics give the student a clear view of the empirical rigour demanded by the study of linguistic pragmatics, but Dr Levinson never loses sight of the rich diversity of the subject. An introduction and conclusion relate pragmatics to other fields in linguistics and other disciplines concerned with language usage - psychology, philosophy, anthropology and literature. Many students in these disciplines, as well as students of linguistics, will find this a valuable textbook.

Showing 1 through 3 of 3 results

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