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Language, Self and Society: A Social History of Language

by Peter Burke

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This important book examines the role of written and spoken language in shaping our sense of reality, in exchanges of social life, and in fashioning our sense of self. It develops a distinctive, socio-historical approach to these issues, offering a range of illuminating studies in the social history of language. The first section discusses the history of specially charged languages (Latin, Hebrew, and the speech-forms of the Quakers). The second section examines the politics of language, paying special attention to dialect and the relations between the language of conquerors and the conquered. In the third section, the relation between forms of expression and the development of personal self-definition is discussed. This key work will make a major contribution to the interdisciplinary study of language. It will be of interest to students and researchers in social history, linguistics, and the history and sociology of language.… (more)
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This important book examines the role of written and spoken language in shaping our sense of reality, in exchanges of social life, and in fashioning our sense of self. It develops a distinctive, socio-historical approach to these issues, offering a range of illuminating studies in the social history of language. The first section discusses the history of specially charged languages (Latin, Hebrew, and the speech-forms of the Quakers). The second section examines the politics of language, paying special attention to dialect and the relations between the language of conquerors and the conquered. In the third section, the relation between forms of expression and the development of personal self-definition is discussed. This key work will make a major contribution to the interdisciplinary study of language. It will be of interest to students and researchers in social history, linguistics, and the history and sociology of language.

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