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Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication

Ed. by Piller, Ingrid

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Volume 24, Issue 1-2 (May 2005)


Introduction: Silence in institutional and intercultural contexts

Adam Jaworski
Published Online: 2008-10-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.24.1-2.1


It used to be customary to write about silence beginning with a bit of a lament that it was a ‘neglected’ or ‘undervalued’ area of sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and other related disciplines. This is no longer necessary nor possible. Since the publication of the major collection of articles by Tannen and Saville-Troike (1985), a steady stream of monographs and anthologies on silence has continued to bring new titles (e. g., Jaworski 1993, 1997; Kurzon 1997; Cacoullos and Sifianou 1998; Thiesmeyer 2003; Julé 2004; Granger 2004), to mention just a few older and more recent examples. They all examine silence from a range of different approaches, or use the concept itself as a useful metalinguistic category and metaphor for the study of a plethora of communicative forms and functions, and critical social issues (see also, e. g., Huckin 2002; Leander 2002). Final anointment to mainstream status, raising silence from the obscurity of one of the most esoteric researchable topics, is the inclusion of whole sections on ‘silence’ in standard textbooks in sociolinguistics (e. g., Mesthrie et al. 2000), discourse analysis (e. g., Johnstone 2002), and nonverbal communication (e. g., Guerrero et al. 1999).

About the article

Published Online: 2008-10-27

Published in Print: 2005-05-01

Citation Information: Multilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, ISSN (Online) 1613-3684, ISSN (Print) 0167-8507, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mult.24.1-2.1.

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