This book presents a discussion of the multifaceted meanings and uses of language. It emphasizes the ways that language encapsulates speakers' meanings and intentions. It includes data from cultures and languages throughout the world in order to document both similarities and differences in human language.
Following an introduction (Chapter 1) and a presentation of structural features of language (Chapter 2), cultural meanings of words and metaphors are analyzed in Chapter 3. The next two chapters (Chapters 4 and 5) describe situational and interactive aspects of communication. Chapter 6 focuses on speakers' class and race as significant determinants of speech style. Chapters 7 and 8 discuss the role of gender. The next two chapters (Chapters 9 and 10) describe the processes of language acquisition. Chapter 11 focuses on language use, loyalty, and conflict in multilingual nations; Chapter 12 discusses multilinguism in communicative interaction. The book concludes with a chapter devoted to analyzing inequalities of power in institutional encounters (Chapter 13).
I wish to express my thanks to Prentice Hall's reviewers for their useful critique of the manuscript: Hoyt Alverson, Dartmouth College; Joseph Errington, Yale University; and Joel Sherzer, University of Texas. I also wish to thank my publisher, Nancy Roberts, for suggesting and encouraging this book. I also thank Kim Gueterman, project manager, for expertly guiding the book's production; Sharon Chambliss, Managing Editor of Anthropology and Sociology; and Alexandra Shandell for preparing the index.