Using Language

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521561587
ISBN-10: 0521561582
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a bold, imaginative, and important book. Clark's focus on language use, and his contention that conversation transforms the nature of production and comprehension, pose a challenge to the prevailing psycholinguistic approach to language. Cognitive scientists, social psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists--indeed, all concerned with the way people employ language to accomplish their purposes in the world--will find much to interest them in this integrative and original work." Robert M. Krauss, Columbia University

"Using Language is a lucid exposition of views that Clark has been developing for over a decade. The central argument is that language must be seen within the complex belief and intentional context in which it is used. Clark tries to pinpoint exactly those features of the intentional context--the set of assumptions and ascribed intentions--which make communication possible, and, often, effortlessly effective. It is undoubtedly his major work to date." Stephen C. Levinson, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

Book Description

In contrast to work within the cognitive sciences, which sees language use as an individual process, and to work within the social sciences, which sees it as a social process, this text argues strongly that language use embodies both individual and social processes.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 446 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521561582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521561587
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,347,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jake Keenan on December 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a dense, important, juicy, rewarding book. Clark builds a convincing umbrella theory of language usage. The beauty is in the details, however, as he builds up concept after concept working with the simplest of actual language examples. Joint projects, common ground, grounding, layering, double tracking are some of the top level gems that popped out at me as he demonstrated them. But Clark finds little regularities, rules, and trade-offs at all levels. Every couple of pages brought out a new generality or a new insight. The book made me work and think a lot, but it was hugely worth it. Clark is very clear that his theory is about the usage rather than the structure of language. All us conversationalists know that there are tons of little messages and social adjustments in every utterance; Clark brings these situations and language strategies out like walking into a planetarium to see stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By floxinia on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have already read some Clark's papers. This book collects a lot of the themes the researcher has developed during his studies.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Tannenbaum on August 10, 2009
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A very comprehensive and insightful book. Also, Clark is a fantastic writer. The focus of the book is on language, but I found it very useful for my own thinking (I'm a social psychologist interested in moral judgment and decision-making).
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rain on May 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Using Language is a great way to learn more of what you didn't know you already know about language and the mind.
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