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The Social Art: Language and Its Uses Paperback – 2 Feb 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, U.S.A.; 2 edition (2 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195187962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195187960
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 1.5 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,163,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

...[an] accessible, entertaining and highly intelligent book...[i]t is theoretically entirely serious, but it is readable with profit and enjoyment by practically everyone (Forum For Modern Language Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1)

About the Author

Ronald K. S. Macaulay is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Pitzer College. He is the author of Language, Social Class and Education (1977), Locating Dialect in Discourse (1991), Standards and Variation in Urban Speech (1997), and Talk that Counts: Age, Gender, and Social Class Differences in Discourse (O.U.P., 2005). The first edition of The Social Art was published in 1995.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 25 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
I am doing a linguistics course with the Open University at the moment and I bought this book to suppliment the course material.
What a revelation! This is an example of how text books should be written. The language is clear and easy to understand. Most of the text book writers I have encountered seem to enjoy in wrapping a mantle of wooly words around the subject of Linguistis, propagating the myth that this is a difficult subject. Macauly's approach is the exact opposite, with the exception of David Crystal's work, I have not found a better example of clear, witty and informative writing. I wish other academics would learn from him, I know I have.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book that covers a wide range of areas relating to language. I'd compare it to Nikolas Coupland's Style: Language Variation and Identity (Key Topics in Sociolinguistics), as it offers a compelling account of theory, but always from a standpoint that is informed, critical and in line with current understandings in the field. There are some pearls of wisdom in here that are worth reading for students of linguistics, particularly those on English language related courses (MA/PhD applied linguistics, for example), as 'the nature of language' is covered from many angles in a way that can be missing from introductory texts in the area. I can't help but think that my understanding would have been improved by picking up this and Coupland's books when I began my studies on language (but research is a journey, as they say).

Overall, great for students of linguistics (socio, cognitive, applied...) because it offers a wide and current account of relevant areas that somebody working with language should be aware of, but it's also a good book for more seasoned linguists, as the range of topics covered and the presentation of them are thought-provoking and challenging.

As a footnote, I would disagree quite strongly with the 'breaking the myth that linguistics is hard' comment from the other 5 star reviewer. I don't think that's what Macaulay is trying to achieve at all. By offering a critical and highly accessible account, he is not trying to undermine the work of others in the field, and does not suggest that everything could be communicated in such a way or that what he presents is an end-point in itself.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to be disappointing. The examples used are cliched, and there is little originality or insight to be found. I was not able to find much to help me in my preparation for my studies, and I feel that there are other, better works that would be more appropriate.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in linguiistics it is very pleasant and you do not get lost in jargon.
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By EJ on 15 Dec. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those who love their language and want to know more.
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