Working with Spoken Discourse

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"An exemplary textbook. Making even the most complex ideas fully accessible, it is grounded in an extensive literature, filled with engaging examples, and offers ample suggestions for independent research. It’s been a key text in my classes for over a decade and, as fresh and relevant as ever, will continue to buttress my graduate seminars and undergraduate courses alike.”

- Professor Crispin Thurlow, University of Washington

Comprehensive, practical, lively and accessible, Working with Spoken Discourse is the much-loved benchmark for learning to do discourse analysis. It combines theory and practice to give students the grounding they need in practical techniques of analyzing talk and how to apply them to real data.

  • Begins with the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of doing discourse analysis
  • Packs examples into every chapter to help explain complex concepts
  • Uses exercises and activities to reinforce what you’ve learned
  • Leads you through the practicalities of designing your own project

Exceptionally clear, and perfect for undergraduates starting a project, this is the essential guide to spoken discourse.

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About the author

Deborah Cameron teaches at Oxford University, where she is Professor of Language and Communication. Her main research interests are in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and the study of gender and sexuality; her previous publications include Working with Spoken Discourse (2001) and Working with Written Discourse (with Ivan Panovic, 2014), Good to Talk? (2000),The Myth of Mars and Venus (2007), and Verbal Hygiene (1995/2012).

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Additional Information

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Published on
Mar 22, 2001
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Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / General
Literary Criticism / Semiotics & Theory
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Popular assumptions about gender and communication - famously summed up in the title of the massively influential 1992 bestseller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus - can have unforeseen but far-reaching consequences in many spheres of life, from attitudes to the phenomenon of 'date-rape' to expectations of achievement at school, and potential discrimination in the work-place. In this wide-ranging and thoroughly readable book, Deborah Cameron, Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University and author of a number of leading texts in the field of language and gender studies, draws on over 30 years of scientific research to explain what we really know and to demonstrate how this is often very different from the accounts we are familiar with from recent popular writing. Ambitious in scope and exceptionally accessible, The Myth of Mars and Venus tells it like it is: widely accepted attitudes from the past and from other cultures are at heart related to assumptions about language and the place of men and women in society; and there is as much similarity and variation within each gender as between men and women, often associated with social roles and relationships. The author goes on to consider the influence of Darwinian theories of natural selection and the notion that girls and boys are socialized during childhood into different ways of using language, before addressing problems of 'miscommunication' surrounding, for example, sex and consent to sex, and women's relative lack of success in work and politics. Arguing that what linguistic differences there are between men and women are driven by the need to construct and project personal meaning and identity, Cameron concludes that we have an urgent need to think about gender in more complex ways than the prevailing myths and stereotypes allow. A compelling and insightful read for anyone with an interest in communication, language, and the sexes.
This collection of articles presents a selection of Deborah Cameron’s work on language, gender and sex in one single volume. Arranged thematically, this book covers major developments in Anglo-American feminist linguistics, and Cameron’s responses to these, spanning the last twenty years.

The collection’s overarching theme is the political relationship between language and gender: four distinctly themed sections demonstrate that a variety of forces affect gender relations, and gender representations, in different times and places. Cameron examines the connections between language and the (mis)representation of reality, and the role language plays in reproducing gender inequalities. More recent articles focus on representations of men and women as communicators, as well as the impact of sexuality on gender and gender relations, an increasingly prominent area of the author’s research.

This timely study brings much of Cameron’s work together for the first time, and highlights characteristics of her work with which many readers will be familiar: a combination of linguistic and feminist political orientation; and a distinct focus on conflict in gender relations. Including a new introductory essay and eleven articles, three of which are previously unpublished, with short introductions to contextualize each piece, the collection is extremely useful for students and teachers on a variety of courses including English language and linguistics, women’s studies, gender studies and communication studies.

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