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Style and Social Identities

Alternative Approaches to Linguistic Heterogeneity

Edited by: Peter Auer
This volume presents an interactional perspective on linguistic variability that takes into account the construction of social identities through the formation of social communicative styles. It shows that style is a useful category in bridging the gap between single parameter variation and social identity. Social positioning, i.e., finding one's place in society, is one of its motivating forces. Various aspects of the expression of stylistic features are focused on, from language choice and linguistic variation in a narrow sense to practices of social categorization, pragmatics patterns, preferences for specific communicative genres, rhetorical practices including prosodic features, and aesthetic choices and preferences for specific forms of taste (looks, clothes, music, etc.). These various features of expression are connected to multimodal stylistic indices through talk; thus, styles emerge from discourse. Styles are adapted to changing contexts, and develop in the course of social processes. The analytical perspective chosen proposes an alternative to current approaches to variability under the influence of the so-called variationist paradigm.

Author Information

Peter Auer, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany.
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Audience: Graduate and Postgraduate Students in Sociolinguistics, Bilingualism, and Anthropological Linguistics