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Languages and Jargons: Contributions to a Social History of Language Hardcover – 14 Dec 1995

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 2nd ed. edition (14 Dec. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745612792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745612799
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.3 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,740,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"Scholarly and wide–ranging contributions consider the different functions of jargon and the overlap where a separate language may decline or even emerge ... I hope that the editors will set out on a fourth journey of linguistic exploration in due course." Times Higher Education Supplement

"The idea of introducing historical detail and empirical rigour into the field of discourse pragmatics is both exciting and timely." Discourse and Society


Languages and Jargons is a contribution to the social history of language. This volume is particularly concerned with the special semi-private languages, dialects or jargons developed by different social groups, whether they are professions, like lawyers, doctors and teachers, voluntary associations like the Masons, social classes, or groups on the margin of society, such as beggars or Gypsies.The contributors are concerned to describe these jargons as they were spoken in particular places and times, to analyse their functions (which range from keeping secrets from outsiders to reinforcing a sense of collective identity), and to account for change over time. They also study the relations between these forms of speech and their speakers and the outside world - the rejection of jargon, the domestication of technical terms, and the transformation of former jargons into ordinary languages. The volume is mainly concerned with different forms of English from the 16th to the 20th century, but some contributors range further afield, from Calo to Urdu.

Languages and Jargons will be of particular interest to students and scholars in social and cultural history, linguistics and sociolinguistics, and anthropology.

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