New Books in Language

Interviews with Scholars of Language about their New Books



      Mario Luis Small, “Someone to Talk To” (Oxford UP, 2017)

      Who do people turn to when they want to talk about serious issues in their life? Do they end up confiding in people they list as confidants? In his new book, Someone to Talk To (Oxford University Press, 2017), Mario Luis Small uses in-depth interviews with first-year graduate students to uncover how intimate conversations are executed in real time. This book is interesting in the way that the interviews unfold; readers will find themselves nodding in agreement and thinking about social...



      Sarah Rivett, “Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of a Literary Nation” (Oxford UP, 2017)

      In Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of a Literary Nation (Oxford University Press, 2017), Princeton University English Associate Professor Sarah Rivett studies how colonists in North America struggled to understand, translate, and interpret Native American languages, and the significance of these languages for theological and cosmological issues such as the origins of Amerindian populations, their relationship to Eurasian and Biblical peoples, and the origins of...



      Ian Brodie, “A Vulgar Art: A New Approach to Stand-Up Comedy” (UP of Mississippi, 2014).

      In A Vulgar Art: A New Approach to Stand-Up Comedy (The University Press of Mississippi, 2014), Ian Brodie, an associate professor of folklore at Cape Breton University, brings a folkloristic approach to the study of stand-up comedy. By focusing on comedic performance, Brodie shows stand-up comedy to be a collaborative act between comedian and audience similar to folk performance around the world, even as mediatization sees professional comedians transcend the initial performance to reach...



      Stephanie Brookes, “Politics, Media and Campaign Language: Australia’s Identity Anxiety” (Anthem Press, 2017)

      In her new book, Politics, Media and Campaign Language: Australia’s Identity Anxiety (Anthem Press, 2017), Stephanie Brookes, a Lecturer in Journalism at Monash University, explores the power of election campaign language to offer a window into the Australian national mood and national identity. Using a variety of political and media sources, including speeches, interviews, press conferences, and debates, Brookes investigates how campaign communication can help us understand...



      Michael Flier and Andrea Graziosi, eds. “The Battle for Ukrainian: A Comparative Perspective” (Harvard UP, 2017)

      Language is one of the complex systems facilitating communication; language is a system producing the inside and the outside of the individual’s awareness of self and other. However, language is also a tool for and of ideological battles, shaping states and nations. A multifaceted nature of language is emphasized and explored in an interdisciplinary collection of articles The Battle for Ukrainian: A Comparative Perspective (Harvard University Press/Ukrainian Research Institute, 2017),...



      Kristian Petersen, “Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Language, and Scripture in the Han Kitab” (Oxford UP, 2017)

      In his monumental new book, Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Language, and Scripture in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017), Kristian Petersen, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, takes his readers on an unforgettable journey through the layers and complexities of Sino-Muslim intellectual and social history. On the way readers meet the major scholars and texts that played a formative role in the development of the Han Kitab...



      Bruce B. Lawrence, “The Koran in English: A Biography” (Princeton UP, 2017)

      As the basis for a major world religion, the Qur’an is one of the most influential books of all time. But when it first appeared, the Qur’an was in Arabic. Most Muslims today are not native-Arabic speakers. Bruce B. Lawrence deals with this issue of translation and more by specifically focusing on the Qur’an (or the Koran) in English in the aptly titled The Koran in English: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2017). He goes back to the earliest English translations,...



      Alessandro Duranti, “The Anthropology of Intentions: Language in a World of Others” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

      Alessandro Duranti is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, where he served as Dean of Social Sciences from 2009-2016. In his book The Anthropology of Intentions: Language in a World of Others (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Duranti explores the relevance of intentions in making sense of what others say reflecting the range of his intellectual curiosity: from analytic and continental philosophical foundations of the concept of intentionality to political discourse in Samoa and...



      Karmen MacKendrick, “The Matter of Voice: Sensual Soundings” (Fordham UP, 2016)

      Philosophers have long tried to silence the physical musicality of voice in favor of the purity of ideas without matter, souls without bodies. But voices resonate among bodies and texts; they are singular, as unique as fingerprints, but irreducibly collective too. They are material, somatic, and musical. Voices also give body to concepts that cannot exist in abstraction, essential to sense yet in excess of it. They complicate the logos of the beginning and emphasize the enfleshing of all...



      Kees van Deemter, “Computational Models of Referring: A Study in Cognitive Science” (MIT Press, 2016)

      Sometimes we have to depend on philosophy to explain to us why something apparently simple is in fact extremely complicated. The way we use referring expressions – things that pick out the entities we want to talk about, such as “Mary”, or “that guy over there” – falls into this category, but is no longer just a matter for the philosophers; it’s complicated enough to require highly interdisciplinary explanation.
      In his book, Computational...