Context Counts Papers on Language, Gender, and Power

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-03-24
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Context Counts assembles, for the first time, the work of pre-eminent linguist Robin Tolmach Lakoff. A career that spans some forty years, Lakoff remains one of the most influential linguists of the 20th-century. The early papers show the genesis of Lakoff's inquiry into the relationship of language and social power, ideas later codified in the groundbreaking Language and Woman's Place and Talking Power. The late papers reflect her continued exposition of power dynamics beyond gender that are established and represented in language.

This volume offers a retrospective analysis of Lakoff's work, with each paper preceded by an introduction from a prominent linguist in the field, including both contemporaries and students of Lakoff's work, and further, Lakoff's own conversation with these responses. This engaging and, at times, moving reevaluation pays homage to Lakoff's far-reaching influence upon linguistics, while also serving as an unusual form of autobiography revealing the decades' long evolution of a scholarly career.

Author Biography

Robin Lakoff is is a professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Her 1975 book Language and Woman's Place is often credited with establishing language and gender as an object of study in linguistics and other disciplines.

Laurel Sutton is a linguist and branding expert living in the San Francisco Bay Area. After earning her Master's in Linguistics from UC Berkeley, she went on to co-found Catchword, a top-tier naming company. Her linguistic expertise is in phonetics and sociolinguistics.

Table of Contents


By Laurel Sutton

1. Language in context (1972)
Introduction by Sally McConnell-Ginet

2. The logic of politeness; or, Minding your P's and Q's (1973)
Introduction by Sachiko Ide

3. Excerpts from two 1974 papers: Pluralism in linguistics; Linguistic theory and the real world
Introduction by Birch Moonwomon

4. You say what you are: Acceptability and gender-related language (1977)
Introduction by Mary Bucholtz

5. Stylistic strategies within a grammar of style (1979)
Introduction by Deborah Tannen

6. When talk is not cheap: Psychotherapy as conversation (1979)
Introduction by Joan Swann

7. Some of my favorite writers are literate (1982)
Introduction by Jenny Cook-Gumperz

8. Persuasive discourse and ordinary conversation: Advertising as an example (1982)
Introduction by Janet S. (Shibamoto) Smith

9. Doubletalk: Sexism in tech talk (1983)
Introduction by Susan Ervin-Tripp

10. My life in court (1986)
Introduction by Susan Blackwell

11. The way we were; or; The real actual truth about generative semantics: A memoir
Introduction by Georgia Green

12. Women and disability (review essay) (1989)
Introduction by Suzette Haden Elgin

13. Pragmatics and the law: Speech act theory confronts the First Amendment (1992)
Introduction by Susan C. Herring

14. The rhetoric of reproduction (1992)
Introduction by Laurel A. Sutton

15. True confessions? Pragmatic competence and criminal confession (1996)
Introduction by Linda Coleman

16. Afterword
by Robin Lakoff

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