Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You : The Great Courses: Linguistics

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Valerie Fridland
  • Series: The Great Courses: Linguistics
  • 11 hrs and 48 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Language is not a passive means of communication. In fact, it's the active process through which we construct societies, and, within them, our own social lives and realities. Language - as we use it in our day-to-day interactions - fundamentally shapes our experience, our thinking, our perceptions, and the very social systems within which our lives unfold.
Nowhere is the social role of language revealed more clearly than in the fascinating field of sociolinguistics. Among many eye-opening perspectives, the work of sociolinguistics points out that:


Language is strong social capital, and our linguistic choices carry both costs and benefits we rarely consider.
Our identity is strongly tied to the speech we use and our perceptions of the speech we hear.
Our children are raised, our relationships are made, and our careers succeed, in large part, through how we use language.
Language embodies a worldview: Your linguistic system reflects and affects the way you organize and understand the world around you.
In these 24 thought-provoking lectures, you'll investigate how social differences based on factors such as region, class, ethnicity, occupation, gender, and age are inseparable from language differences. Further, you'll explore how these linguistic differences arise, and how they both reflect and generate our social systems. You'll look at the remarkable ways in which our society is a reflection of our language, how differences in the way people use language create differences in society, how people construct and define social contexts by their language use, and ultimately why our speech reveals so much about us. Join a brilliantly insightful sociolinguist and teacher in a compelling inquiry that sheds light on how our linguistic choices play a determining role in every aspect of our lives.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Like nails on a chalkboard

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Valerie Fridland?

Yes but not if Mrs Fridland narrates it. One of the other reviewers pointed out how annoying her voice is and I have to agree. It's shrill, weirdly chipper,and just not comfortable to listen to for more than a few minutes.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You?

I zoned out a lot during this audio book, something that very rarely happens. Mrs Fridland just didn't keep me interested all that long. The few points I do remember were interesting though.


What didn’t you like about Professor Valerie Fridland’s performance?

She has a high pitched voice, too shrill. Not pleasant.


Was Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You worth the listening time?

I didn't retain a lot of the concepts. This might be a lecture better ingested from a written source material.


Any additional comments?

The content is interesting but I just couldn't finish it. Mrs Fridland's voice and fact that visualizing language-based concepts is hard make this for a fairly tough audio book to get through.

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- Amazon Customer

Nothing like the other Great Courses

At the beginning of this book, Professor Fridland asks us to listen to her voice and then imagine what she is. Old, young? Where is she from? Educated or not?

From her speech, I got a 22 year old California sufer gal (for sure) with litter interests beyond shopping.

Turns out she's older and from the south. But I got none of that.

This book was a terrible disappointment. Not only does the professor sound like a college student, she put together a terrible course.

Over and over she would say something like "And there are many words that these people use in ways no other society does." This screams for a "for instance" or example. But she gave them so seldom you would think they came out of her salary to insert.

I wish I could return this book, but I fear I've kept it too long. (I kept trying to get through it, but couldn't get more than 15% of the way through.

The idea of an audio book on language and dialects is a great idea that goes way beyond what print can do. Unfortunately, this book doesn't rise to the concept.
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- M. S. Cohen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-12-2014
  • Publisher: The Great Courses