Synopses & Reviews
Throughout Western society there are now strong pressures for social and racial integration but, in spite of these, recent experience has shown that greater intergroup contact can actually reinforce social distinctions and ethnic stereotypes. The studies collected here examine, from a broad sociological perspective, the sorts of face-to-face verbal exchange that are characteristic of industrial societies, and the volume as a whole pointedly demonstrates the role played by communicative phenomena in establishing and reinforcing social identity. The method of analysis that has been adopted enables the authors to reveal and examine a centrally important but hitherto little discussed conversational mechanism: the subconscious processes of inference that result from situational factors, social presuppositions and discourse conventions. The theory of conversation and the method of analysis that inform the author's approach are discussed in the first two chapters, and the case studies themselves examine interviews, counselling sessions and similar formal exchanges involving contacts between a wide range of different speakers: South Asians, West Indians and native English speakers in Britain; English natives and Chinese in South-East Asia; Afro-Americans, Asians and native English speakers in the United States; and English and French speakers in Canada. The volume will be of importance to linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, and others with a professional interest in communication, and its findings will have far-reaching applications in industrial and community relations and in educational practice.
Table of Contents
Preface; A note on conventions; 1. Introduction: language and the communication of social identity John J. Gumperz and Jenny Cook-Gumperz; 2. Thematic structure and progression in discourse John J. Gumperz, Gurinder Aulakh and Hannah Kaltman; 3. Discovering connections Arpita Mishra; 4. Inscrutability revisited Linda Wai Ling Young; 5. Negotiating interpretations in interethnic settings Mark Hansell and Cheryl Seabrook Ajirotutu; 6. Strategies and counterstrategies in the use of yes-no questions in discourse Adrian Bennett; 7. Negotiations of language choice in Montreal Monica S. Heller; 8. Performance and ethnic style in job interviews F. Niyi Akinnaso and Cheryl Seabrook Ajirotutu; 9. Interethnic communication in committee negotiations John J. Gumperz and Jenny Cook-Gumperz; 10. Fact and inference in courtroom testimony John J. Gumperz; 11. A cultural approach to male-female miscommunication Daniel N. Maltz and Ruth A. Borker; 12. Ethnic style in male-female conversation Deborah Tannen; 13. Language and disadvanage: the hidden process T. C. Jupp, Celia Roberts and Jenny Cook-Gumperz; Bibliography; Subject index; Author index.