Legendary linguist John Gumperz passed away recently, and leaves behind a body of work that changed linguistic study as we know it.
Gumperz was a pioneer of the burgeoning field of interactional sociolinguistics, and it explains how we understand each other — or misunderstand each other — across cultures.
Linguist Daniel Midgley gets social on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Listen to this episode
John Gumperz was someone whose work I remember reading waaaaay back in my Linguistics study, back when I first became aware of sociolinguistics. Since he’s passed away, I thought it would be good to take a look at what he started. Interactional sociolinguistics, metaphorical code-switching — it’s all here.
The most interesting part about this podcast for me was how easy it was for Ben and me to come up with examples of all of the above. It’s just a part of our lives. Very relevant. See if you don’t agree.
John Gumperz’s Wikipedia page
The New York Times obit, with the gravy story!
Ben Zimmer’s tribute on Language Log
Watch a bit of Crosstalk with John Gumperz. (RealPlayer, though. Ugh.)
‘Nicotine and Gravy’ by Beck
from the album Midnite Vultures
‘Too Nice to Talk To’ by the English Beat
from the album What Is Beat?