Signs of Difference

Signs of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social Life
TitleSigns of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social Life
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGal, Susan, and Judith T. Irvine
Number of Pages320
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication LanguageEnglish
KeywordsContemporary, Ethnography, history, Ideology
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How are peoples' ideas about languages, ways of speaking and expressive styles shaped by their social positions and values? How is difference, in language and in social life, made - and unmade? How and why are some differences persuasive as the basis for action, while other differences are ignored or erased? Written by two recognised authorities on language and culture, this book argues that ideological work of all kinds is fundamentally communicative, and that social positions, projects and historical moments influence, and are influenced by, people's ideas about communicative practices. Neither true nor false, ideologies are positioned and partial visions of the world, relying on comparison and perspective; they exploit differences in expressive features - linguistic and otherwise - to construct convincing stereotypes of people, spaces and activities. Using detailed ethnographic, historical and contemporary examples, this outstanding book shows readers how to analyse ideological work semiotically.