Book Review

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Mar 14 13:46:34 UTC 2003

Language and Interaction: Eerdmans, Prevignano, Thibault (eds.)
Discussions with John J. Gumperz

Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: John Benjamins

Editor: Susan L. Eerdmans, University of Bologna
Editor: Carlo L. Prevignano, University of Bologna
Editor: Paul J. Thibault, University of Venice; Lingnan University,
        Hong Kong


This book features a fascinating and extended focal interview with
Professor John J. Gumperz, who ranges over his long career trajectory and
reflects on his scientific achievements and how they relate to the
contemporary linguistic scene. In this way, the reader is presented with a
snapshot introduction to Gumperz's work in a contemporary context.  A
number of commentaries provide a stimulating and illuminating series of
theoretical and applied encounters with Gumperz's work from different
perspectives. In so doing, they shed new light on Gumperz's seminal
contribution to the study of language and interaction. In his Response
Essay and in a final discussion, Gumperz clarifies his views on many of
the topics discussed in the volume, as well as sharing with readers his
views on some other approaches to language and interaction that are
closely aligned to his own. Sociolinguistics, the ethnographic approach to
language, language and social interaction, intercultural communication,
communicative conventions, contextualization -- these are some of the key
terms which Professor John J. Gumperz discusses in this wide ranging and
searching interview about his career as an anthropological linguist and
sociolinguist interested in cultural diversity and intercultural

John J. Gumperz, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of
California, Berkeley, is one of the founders of Sociolinguistics whose
early work on speech communities and on the relationship of linguistic to
social boundaries helped lay the basis for much current work in the field.
Since the 1970s he has concentrated on a theory and methods of discourse
analysis that can account for the intrinsic diversity of today's
communicative environments.  His publications include: Language in Social
Groups (1962); Ethnography of Communication (1964) and Directions in
Sociolinguistics (1972/2002), both coedited with Dell Hymes; Discourse
Strategies (1982); Language and Social Identity (1982); and Rethinking
Linguistic Relativity (1996), coedited with Steven Levinson. He is
currently working on a collection of studies New Ethnographies of
Communication (coedited with Marco Jacquemet); and Language in Social

Table of Contents

Preface  vii
1. Presenting John J. Gumperz
     Aldo Di Luzio  1
2. A discussion with John J. Gumperz
     Carlo L. Prevignano and Aldo Di Luzio  7
3. Contextualizing "Contextualization Cues"
     Stephen C. Levinson  31
4. Contextualization and social meaning-making practices
     Paul J. Thibault  41
5. Gumperz and the minims of interaction
     Carlo L. Prevignano  63
6. Commentary on a discussion with John J. Gumperz
     Afzal Ballim  79
7. A review of John J. Gumperz's current contributions to
   interactional sociolinguistics
     Susan L. Eerdmans  85
8. Response essay
     John J. Gumperz  105
9. Body dynamics, social meaning-making, and scale heterogeneity
     Paul J. Thibault  127
10. Continuing the discussion with John J. Gumperz
     Carlo L. Prevignano and Paul J. Thibault  149
Bio-bibliographical note  163
Index  165

 Hardback: ISBN: 1588113043, Pages: xii, 171 pp., Price: USD 56.00
Hardback: ISBN: 902722594X, Pages: xii, 171 pp., Price: EUR 56.00

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