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ERIC Number: ED263763
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Politics of Language.
Lakoff, Robin
In looking at the forms language takes, linguists sometimes forget to ask the obvious question about the relationship between the forms language uses (phonology and syntax) and the function language is expected to play as a vehicle of communication. Probably the bulk of our daily communication involves the allocation and use of power, the politics of language. One way to examine the relationship of form and function in the allocation of linguistic power is to look at the tag question, a construction unique to English that in form is somewhere between a question and a declarative but in function is better viewed as a declarative. The tag question functions to establish a political balance in discourse, both in ordinary conversation and in more obviously political situations, as in a courtroom. The syntactic complexity of the tag question can only be understood through its political implications. By extension, we can more fully comprehend our own and others' communicative aims and needs by observing the choice of forms in the actual context in which they are used. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Maurice and Laura Falk Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA.