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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into other cultures
"Language Shock" helped me to understand my experience of living in a foreign land -- China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Agar's inights drawn the fields of anthropology and linguistics gave me a way of processing the "rich points" of those cultures. Since first reading the book a few years ago I have studied linguistics in more depth, and I have...
Published on February 14, 2000 by Brian Jones

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite
I had to buy this book for a Linguistic Anthropology "Language and Culture" class I was taking and dreaded having to read this book. The way it's written is just so utterly boring. If you're looking for an interesting read related to the subfield, I would recommend the 2nd edition of "Linguistic Anthropology", edited by Alessandro Duranti.
Published on October 20, 2011 by AnthropologistInTraining


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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into other cultures, February 14, 2000
By 
This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
"Language Shock" helped me to understand my experience of living in a foreign land -- China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Agar's inights drawn the fields of anthropology and linguistics gave me a way of processing the "rich points" of those cultures. Since first reading the book a few years ago I have studied linguistics in more depth, and I have to say that Agar's approach to langauge and culture is still one of the best I have encountered. I highly recommend it to anyone living in a foreign country, and anyone with an interest in language and culture.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read!, June 29, 2003
By 
"watersong73" (College Park, MD) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
I highly recommend this book to anybody with an interest in getting a rudimentary introduction to the ways in which language and culture intermesh. I read it as part of a class at the UMD, though I didn't take it with Agar, and it was one of my most favorite parts of the class. I think it deserves credit as a book that's enjoyable, not just educational. There's a very short list of the books I've read for classes that were hard to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intercultural Communication, December 1, 2012
By 
D. R. Ransdell (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
When I went to a recent conference on this topic, nearly all the scholars cited this work. That's especially interesting because it's written for the lay reader, not for scholars. Yet the book accomplishes its goal. It presents in clear terms some of the many reasons that it's hard to communicate with people from other language groups. Cultural expectations so often get in the way, or at the very least, they complicate things.

Agar spent a long time in Austria, so he has many useful personal experiences to draw upon. His book makes it clear that communicating to people of other cultures is a tremendous feat. So many things can go wrong! But in this global world, developing the savvy to talk to international colleagues is crucial. Although Agar's book was published nearly twenty years ago, it's still very useful. For teachers who will have second-language writers in their classrooms, the book should be on a must-read list.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite, October 20, 2011
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This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
I had to buy this book for a Linguistic Anthropology "Language and Culture" class I was taking and dreaded having to read this book. The way it's written is just so utterly boring. If you're looking for an interesting read related to the subfield, I would recommend the 2nd edition of "Linguistic Anthropology", edited by Alessandro Duranti.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Purchased as a gift, February 7, 2013
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This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
I purchased this as a gift for a dear friend. He loves this book. IT was a wonderful purchase for people that are interested in this topic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interaction between language, culture and daily behaviour, May 6, 2012
This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
Good: Michael Agar shows the interaction between language, culture and daily behaviour for insiders and outsiders. Insiders know implicit (and explicit) the meaning behind words and sentences that outsiders with only knowledge of a language may not be aware of. He shares his open mind for several environments/cultures wherein he has lived. He makes a strong plea for open mindness to a foreign cultures otherwise unknown/uncommon behaviour may be regarded as a defect in another culture resulting in rejection or worse.

Debatable: Michael uses a organic/lingering style with many personal examples. This style has its merits and its shortcomings - see other reviews.

Conclusion: recommended - a readable introduction to foreign combination of language/culture and way of living
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Agar's ego interferes with his insight, October 5, 2006
This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
The actual content of this book and its truly interesting parts are muddled by its author's self-righteous, self-important conversational style of writing.

The author frequently inserts snippets about himself (whom he has quite a high opinion of), unbearably awkward similes and off-the-cuff thoughts in an effort to be clever or interesting, and winds up being neither. Perhaps his excuse is that anthropological linguistics is a very personal study, one in which fieldwork cannot be done without factoring in the researcher's temperaments. In either case, this book quickly becomes tiresome due to the author's intrusive, egotistical ramblings.

There are plenty of interesting points that he makes; unfortunately, you will have to wade through plenty of self-indulgent blather to discover them.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, October 9, 2013
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This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
I went to school with the author, Mike Agar. We just saw each other at our class reunion.
Great book.
Thank you
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15 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading but could be better, February 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
Mr. Agar has written about an important and fascinating topic. He provides several examples of miscommunciations, and he teaches us some jargon such as "rich points", "languaculture", and "frames" in his field of linguistic anthropology. The book is worth reading, however, it is twice too long. In trying to personalize this interesting topic, he gets too familiar and too wordy. I would like to read a followup with more examples of mismatched communication (1) within American English, (2) within other lanuguages (his are German and Spanish), as well as (3) between languages and cultures. I suggest adding examples of manners and etiquette in various countries and cultures.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Language Shock, February 16, 2006
This review is from: Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation (Paperback)
The price of this book was so much lower than anywhere else and it arrived much more quickly than I expected. The condition was just perfect. I was so pleased.
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Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation
Language Shock: Understanding The Culture Of Conversation by Michael Agar (Paperback - December 16, 1996)
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