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Social Linguistics And Literacies: Ideology in Discourses (Critical Perspectives on Literacy and Education)

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In its first edition, Social Linguistics and Literacies was a major contribution to the emerging interdisciplinary field of sociocultural approaches to language and literacy, and was one of the founding texts of the ‘New Literacy Studies’.This book serves as a classic introduction to the study of language, learning and literacy in their social, cultural and political conte In its first edition, Social Linguistics and Literacies was a major contribution to the emerging interdisciplinary field of sociocultural approaches to language and literacy, and was one of the founding texts of the ‘New Literacy Studies’.This book serves as a classic introduction to the study of language, learning and literacy in their social, cultural and political contexts. It shows how contemporary sociocultural approaches to language and literacy emerged and: Engages with topics such as orality and literacy, the history of literacy, the nature of discourse analysis and social theories of mind and meaning Explores how language functions in a society Through the exploration of the notion of ‘Discourse’, it surveys the current state of the field with specific reference to cross-cultural issues in communities and schools. This new edition incorporates contemporary work on "new literacies", that is, meaning making that uses digital media, images, or "multimodal texts" which integrate words and images. This new perspective fully updates the book and its approach to language, learning, and literacy in society and culture.


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In its first edition, Social Linguistics and Literacies was a major contribution to the emerging interdisciplinary field of sociocultural approaches to language and literacy, and was one of the founding texts of the ‘New Literacy Studies’.This book serves as a classic introduction to the study of language, learning and literacy in their social, cultural and political conte In its first edition, Social Linguistics and Literacies was a major contribution to the emerging interdisciplinary field of sociocultural approaches to language and literacy, and was one of the founding texts of the ‘New Literacy Studies’.This book serves as a classic introduction to the study of language, learning and literacy in their social, cultural and political contexts. It shows how contemporary sociocultural approaches to language and literacy emerged and: Engages with topics such as orality and literacy, the history of literacy, the nature of discourse analysis and social theories of mind and meaning Explores how language functions in a society Through the exploration of the notion of ‘Discourse’, it surveys the current state of the field with specific reference to cross-cultural issues in communities and schools. This new edition incorporates contemporary work on "new literacies", that is, meaning making that uses digital media, images, or "multimodal texts" which integrate words and images. This new perspective fully updates the book and its approach to language, learning, and literacy in society and culture.

30 review for Social Linguistics And Literacies: Ideology in Discourses (Critical Perspectives on Literacy and Education)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Here is a really simple test to know how much you know about ‘grammar’. If you think there is one grammar (or even one grammar per language) and that is known as ‘proper grammar’ –you basically don’t know anything about grammar. Now, don’t get me wrong – that’s a pretty blissful state of ignorance to be in and has much to recommend it. But there are lots of different ways to do ‘grammar’ and hardly any of them are ‘proper’ – transformational grammar, socio-linguistics, traditional grammar, gener Here is a really simple test to know how much you know about ‘grammar’. If you think there is one grammar (or even one grammar per language) and that is known as ‘proper grammar’ –you basically don’t know anything about grammar. Now, don’t get me wrong – that’s a pretty blissful state of ignorance to be in and has much to recommend it. But there are lots of different ways to do ‘grammar’ and hardly any of them are ‘proper’ – transformational grammar, socio-linguistics, traditional grammar, generative linguistics, systemic-functional linguistics, critical discourse analysis… Mmm. The big division is between the Chomskyan and the various social grammars. For Chomsky grammar is innate, independent of individual languages or even language ‘performances’ and therefore the study of linguistics needs to focus on language’s ‘deep structures’ as these can illuminate the genetic structures that fascinate language learning. Mostly this kind of grammar is interested in sentence level analysis of language and the transformations that can be made upon the deep structure of languages. This isn’t really about what most people take ‘grammar’ to mean – split infinitives and stuff like that, but rather how the surface structures of our languages can reveal the mental processes we are born with that make our learning languages possible in the first place (hence Pinker’s The Language Instinct). The other side is sociolinguistics. This says that language only exists because there is a ‘you’ as well as a ‘me’ – that is, that language is essentially a social activity and can’t be understood at all outside of the social context in which it is used. Any theory with ‘discourse’ in or around its title almost definitely owes something to Foucault, just as anything with ‘critical’ in its title probably owes something to Marx, but more importantly, both fall on the ‘social’ rather than ‘transformational’ side of this debate. Right from the start Gee makes it clear that the rules of grammar are not at all what you might think they are from the millions of proper ‘usage’ books you might find in any bookshop. He talks about a man going into a ‘bikers’ bar’ and how it is possible for him to use perfectly formed grammatical sentences and still be wrong. If he were to say in such a situation, “Pardon me, old chap, can I trouble you for a light? I was hoping to ‘blow some blue’ as I believe you have it in your local idiom”, while that is a perfectly grammatical sentence, it is clearly not ‘correct’ for that situation. Whereas, “Oy, fart-face, give-us a light” might well be, ironically enough, much suited to the social context, less likely to get you beaten up and therefore a better example of ‘correct’ grammar. Grammar, then, is always situated. A lot of this book is about working out the implications of precisely this insight. Take this article from The Guardian as a case in point http://www.theguardian.com/society/20... Whereas the English often make their class distinctions quite explicit, the US likes to hide theirs and pretend they don’t really exist. Here in Australia we fall much more towards the US prejudices in this case. Gee talks about Discourses – essentially a way people have of communicating with the world – and how these come in various forms. There is a lovely description of a young Black American girl telling a story in class and how this is structured in ways that make lots of sense from within the mostly oral culture she has been brought up in – with lots of parallelisms and rhyme structures – but how this way of telling stories is not correct for school room discourse types, which have very strict rules about how stories need to be structured. He compares this to something a young middle class white girl says in class and which the teacher approves of. Naturally enough, the middle class white girl labels things explicitly in her speaking, even things that are ‘obvious’ from the context. This is something her parents are likely to have encouraged in her by reading and discussing books with her from her earliest years – ‘what’s that? Yes, that’s a doggie. What is the doggie doing?’. But this is a discourse type that is alien to this young black girl. Often the solution presented in these circumstances is to suggest schools should teach these skills to the students that do not have them. The problem often is much harder than this, though. Most of the rules needed to engage in this discourse (or any discourse) are implicit – that is, the teachers might not even know these rules exist themselves, but like the biker who watches you take out you handkerchief from your denim jacket pocket and dust down your barstool before you sit down, he just ‘knows’ something isn’t right with you. It is that line from My Last Duchess: “Even had you skill In speech--which I have not--to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark"--and if she let Herself be lessoned so, not plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and make excuse-- E'en then would be some stooping, and I choose Never to stoop.“ The problem is that we live in a world in which there are primary and secondary discourses. We all receive our primary discourse just by being born into a language community. But then we have to learn various secondary discourses – more or less remote from our primary discourse. Some of us are from families that are in positions of social power, and so we learn as our primary discourse one of society’s ‘dominant discourses’ as birthright. Life is contradictory, and like the guy in the Biker Bar, that dominant discourse type might even put your life in danger sometimes, but often it helps to clear the path for you in ways you are simply unaware of. A life’s experience with a discourse type marks a person as a certain kind of person. As the Guardian article above says, there might be diamonds out there that didn’t go to the right schools and who don’t speak with the right accent – but how much mud does one need to shift through to find that diamond? And is that sifting worth it when your ear is already tuned to spot the right kind of people? This is basically Pygmalion or My Fair Lady, except that if ‘posh’ is your secondary discourse type (as it is with My Fair Lady, that is, one you have had to learn rather than one you have just lived) you are always in threat of making a mistake and so you will hyper-correct, itself an error and clear sign of ‘not really belonging’. Worse, you may have to reject something that belongs to your primary discourse community to ‘fit in’ to a secondary one – something hateful and loathsome at the best of times. To Gee we don’t learn discourses, we acquire them through being welcomed into discourse communities as apprentices. This is why an autodidact (someone that has learnt something by themselves) is rarely accepted into a community of experts in that thing. They might have lots of ‘facts’, but they rarely have the ‘proper feeling’ for how those facts fit together. Bourdieu uses a lovely phrase to describe this, that what an autodidact knows is like a collection of unstrung pearls. This seems to make the task hopeless, but the advice Gee gives is that we should give those we teach a ‘metalanguage’ about how these games are played, so that, when they are in situations that are outside of their ‘comfort zone’ they know how to ‘mashfake’ (a prison term for making do with what you’ve got – I think the French for this is Bricolage, another of those terms texts like this often use for pretty much this same idea). That is, teach them how to make do with the bits and pieces of their various primary and secondary discourses they already have so as to be able to ‘wing it’, while also teaching them lots of ‘metalanguage’ so they know how to ‘call’ people on the game that is being played against them. Would this work? No idea. But it does have the advantage of telling snobs they are being snobs (something one shouldn’t take for granted they know they are being) – and that can never be a bad thing. As Gee says, it gives people something to be getting on with while we wait for the revolution. Unlike what I’ve done here, Gee provides lots of detailed worked examples – nothing quite like a worked example to make something clear. This guy is a genius – but this book is expensive. See if you can get it from your library.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

    This book will always have a special place in my life. And not because it might be the best book written in the area, but because it was my official introduction to psycholinguistics. The book touches upon several subjects including the concept of discursive communities, that is, communities with specified language and communication norms. The book as the title will clue you in also argues that any discourse or discursive community is ideologically based. This is important when James Paul Gee lo This book will always have a special place in my life. And not because it might be the best book written in the area, but because it was my official introduction to psycholinguistics. The book touches upon several subjects including the concept of discursive communities, that is, communities with specified language and communication norms. The book as the title will clue you in also argues that any discourse or discursive community is ideologically based. This is important when James Paul Gee looks at discursive differences in the classroom and how a girl's story is deemed as 'wrong' since it deviates the classroom discourse(the girl was African American and told the story in an discursive style that is common to her community). As such, the book deals strongly with discursive communities and how they affect the area of education, which is something that I believe anyone in education should pay attention to. Like I said, I have a special fondness for this book, but aside from that, I believe that its implications have a broader appeal since we all belong to discursive communities and the way in which we interact and yes judge people is based on our understanding of how they communicate and how such communication styles interacts with our own. Definitely an eye opening book as far as my education and understanding of language is concerned.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Ridenour

    This is book presents a fascinating insight to the moral motivation for studying linguistics, specifically discourse in its social setting. Everyone speaks multiple "social langauges" that they use in many different situations. These langauges and word choice reveal our values and belief about the world and our society. These beliefs are typically tacit and difficult to explain. However, when these biases cause harm to anyone and/or put one group at an advantage to another we have the moral obli This is book presents a fascinating insight to the moral motivation for studying linguistics, specifically discourse in its social setting. Everyone speaks multiple "social langauges" that they use in many different situations. These langauges and word choice reveal our values and belief about the world and our society. These beliefs are typically tacit and difficult to explain. However, when these biases cause harm to anyone and/or put one group at an advantage to another we have the moral obligation to understand these tacit belief and make them explicit....there's a lot more I could write, but what's the point. If you are interested in talking about it give me a call.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathrina

    Critical discourse, civil discourse, dominant discourse, multiple Discourses -- Gee has given me the theory and vocabulary to conceive all of these approaches to discourse as one interrelated linguistic project of analysis. And it wasn't painful at all. It's a book like this that excites me to be a scholar engaged in relevant, actionable research for social justice.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I absolutely loved this book! Gee is snarky, witty, and tells it like it is throughout this whole brilliant commentary on meaning-making and identity formation in the classroom. An inspiration to read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen

    Wow. This book took me a little while to finish, but that was because Gee gives his readers so much to think about in every chapter. I'm new to "discourse theory" (theories?) but Gee's ideas immediately clicked with me. A real review to follow.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hafizah

    Though I have reservations on some of Gee's opinions, specifically mushfaking, he presents valuable information, presented in a way that is applicable and thought provokng

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Norvey

    So. Many. Typos. I don't know if this is the right edition, to be honest, since I have the fifth edition, but there are so many mistakes that it distracts from the ideas, which are presented in a pretentious way that makes me want to roll my eyes every few seconds. Other than that, the ideas themselves are solid and interesting.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alia

    Zzzzzz...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Excellent book. A must read for all language educators!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Flower

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt Homer

  14. 5 out of 5

    Azumah

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amberfutch

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marybeth

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  18. 5 out of 5

    Grace Pigozzi

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anderson Maia

  20. 5 out of 5

    David Benbow

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Neal

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather Bruce

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jerod Ra'Del

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  30. 5 out of 5

    Molly Kiesig

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