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Talk is cheap : sarcasm, alienation, and the evolution of language

Author: John Haiman
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, ©1998.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Putting aside questions of truth and falsehood, the old "talk is cheap" maxim carries as much weight as ever before. Indeed, perhaps more. For one need not be an expert in irony or sarcasm to realize that people don't necessarily mean what they say. Phrases such as "Yeah, right" and "I could care less" are so much a part of how we speak - and how we live - that we are more likely to notice them when they are absent  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Haiman, John.
Talk is cheap.
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c1998
(OCoLC)605440496
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: John Haiman
ISBN: 0195115244 9780195115246 0195115252 9780195115253
OCLC Number: 36074373
Description: viii, 220 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Introduction: The Cheapness of Talk --
Sarcasm and the Postmodern Sensibility --
Sarcasm and Its Neighbors --
The Metamessage "I Don't Mean This" --
Alienation and the Divided Self --
Reflexives as Grammatical Signs of the Divided Self --
Un-Plain Speaking --
The Thing in Itself --
Zen Semantics --
Nonlinguistic Ritualization --
Ritualization in Language --
Metalinguistic Ritualization --
Reification and Innateness.
Responsibility: John Haiman.
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Abstract:

This study argues that "unplain speaking" is fundamentally embedded in the way we now talk. The author argues that "cheap talk" allows us to distance ourselves from a social role with which we are  Read more...

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"...Haiman's provides a much-needed corrective to presentist arguments about the uniqueness of contemporary Western modes of thought and action."-Language in Society "Haiman's examples and proofs, Read more...

 
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schema:reviewBody""Putting aside questions of truth and falsehood, the old "talk is cheap" maxim carries as much weight as ever before. Indeed, perhaps more. For one need not be an expert in irony or sarcasm to realize that people don't necessarily mean what they say. Phrases such as "Yeah, right" and "I could care less" are so much a part of how we speak - and how we live - that we are more likely to notice them when they are absent (for example, Forrest Gump). From our everyday dialogues and conversations ("Thanks a lot!") to the screenplays of our most popular films (as in Pulp Fiction), what is said is frequently very different from what is meant." "Talk Is Cheap begins with this telling observation and proceeds to argue that such "unplain speaking" is fundamentally embedded in the way we now talk. John Haiman traces this sea-change in our language usage to the emergence of a postmodern "divided self" who is hyper-conscious that what he or she is saying has been said before. Thus, "cheap talk" helps us distance ourselves from a social role with which we are uncomfortable. Haiman examines the full range of these pervasive distancing mechanisms, from cliches and quotation marks to camp and parody. Also, he highlights ways in which language is evolving (and has evolved) from non-linguistic behavior. His book shows us how what we are saying is continually separating itself from how we say it."--BOOK JACKET."
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