How We Talk

How We Talk

The Inner Workings of Conversation

Book - 2017
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"We all had teachers who scolded us over the use of um, uh-huh, oh, like, and mm-hmm. But as linguist N. J. Enfield reveals in How We Talk, these "bad words" are fundamental to language. Whether we are speaking with the clerk at the store, our boss, or our spouse, language is dependent on things as commonplace as a rising tone of voice, an apparently meaningless word, or a glance-signals so small that we hardly pay them any conscious attention. Nevertheless, they are the essence of how we speak. From the traffic signals of speech to the importance of um, How We Talk revolutionizes our understanding of conversation. In the process, Enfield reveals what makes language universally-and uniquely-human"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780465059942
Characteristics: 257 pages ; 22 cm


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squib Apr 26, 2018

a detailed look into the invisible communication between people during conversation. It's a collaborative art, and we would all benefit from striving to improve. This book is rather technical in some respects, but not intimidating. If conversation is your thing, it's well worth a read.

multcolib_karene Apr 01, 2018

I probably would've been fine just reading a summary of this book. The information is really interesting but it just felt too long to me. However, I'll never think of "um" in quite the same way ever again.

Mar 20, 2018

Awareness of conversation traffic signals makes people better conversationalists. This short book gives that information but could be distilled to essay length - it comes across as a textbook. Worth a look.


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