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https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Language and society book club?

Usagiboy7
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Hi folks!

I am part of an offline reading group that started this month. Our overarching reading theme is language and society. The books we will be reading will likely focus on the fields Sociology of Language, Semiotics, Sociolinguistics, and Linguistic Anthropology. This month, we will be reading "Language in Thought and Action" by S. I. Hayakawa and Alan R. Hayakawa (5th edition). This book was written for a broader readership and is relatively short. You might even be able to find it in your local library.

Anyone interested in an online version? If so, be sure to pick up your copy of this book and start reading for February. (The cover of the 5th edition pictured below.) If there is interest here, I'll post once a week in the forums for it. :)

5th edition book cover

To view the table of contents for Language in Thought and Action 5th ed, go Here, and scroll down.

Suggestions for future books? Also, the more general the readership the better until we get a solid starting basis going and build up our knowledge from there.

If you are reading this book, and have a concept or section from it you would like to suggest, feel free to post your question here or in the upcoming, discussion post that I will create one week from today.

PS, Here is a basic prompt to get us started:

What alternative titles can you give to any or all of the first 6 chapters? Bonus points if you can come up with something humorous. If you would like to include a humorous way to summarize the chapter, that works as well. And, for anyone who is interested in making artistic representations of one or more chapters and/or titles, yes please do!

Since I need to read these chapters as well, I have no idea if they will lend themselves to re-titling, humorous or not. But, hey it gets us thinking, right? :D

1 year ago

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Mr_Eyl
Mr_Eyl
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"Suggestions for future books?"

Try 'The World Until Yesterday' by Jared Diamond.

It's about how tribal societies / cultures compare and relate to the Western world and what we can learn from them, as well as the once-common cultural aspects which we've lost. It's not primarily about language, but several chapters go into a great deal of detail on the sociology of language, the benefits of multilingualism, and language learning in general.

It's quite a divisive book among anthropologists, but the linguistic parts are fascinating. It would certainly make for some spirited discussions in a book group. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jude490741
Jude490741Plus
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My local library doesn't have it so I ordered a used one from Amazon but may not get it till the 28th. They didn't have a Kindle version which was a bummer. I am a super fast reader but may not be able to participate in this month's book. If it comes quickly I will join in :) Looks like an interesting read.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I hope it arrives quickly! But, if not, you can still follow the discussions. I'll try to quickly figure out which book we are doing next so you can order it with time to spare. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeiferB

Sounds pretty cool.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16
jaye16
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A dream come true! I've been wanting to join an online book club but haven't found one I felt was the right "fit". But with this group and this subject matter, nothing could be more perfect.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jude490741
Jude490741Plus
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Yes! I would be interested!!!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Also, now taking book suggestions for the future.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wombatua
wombatua
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Seems like your club is somewhat academic, but if you haven't already read it, I'd recommend Arika Okrent's In the Land of Invented Languages (Spiegel & Grau, 2009). Cheap used copies are on Amazon and other sites.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Fiction or non-fiction?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wombatua
wombatua
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Nonfiction. It's been a while, but PRI's World in Words podcast had a good episode about it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Do you happen to have a link to the podcast?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wombatua
wombatua
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Here's the website: https://www.pri.org/collections/world-words

Subscribe wherever you please...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16
jaye16
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@wombatua Thank you wombatua. I started to listen to the podcasts last night. Facinating material for everyone interested in (or fanatic about ;) ) linguistics.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bogota76

I'm interested too!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Great! Be sure to check back in when you've ordered the book and/or have gotten it. Be sure to start reading ASAP. Depending on when folks have gotten their books, I might extend the month for this book through March.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bogota76

Okay good i'll see if i can get it soon. I'll try to read it ASAP! Thanks

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ayato_Hisakawa

Ooh cool I'll read it online.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jmorr1990
Jmorr1990
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If you are tending toward academic study or philosophy (still in terms in of language and society), then Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Derrida are all essentials. I would start with Saussure's "Course in General Linguistics". You don't really need the whole thing; you just need to get the basics of his concepts for other reading. You can find excerpts here.

Barthes "Mythologies" is a good bump-up from Saussure. You should also be able to find this via Google. Derrida is probably the most complex (and rewarding) of the three. His "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" is very good, but can be a bit difficult.

All of these are undoubtedly academic/philosophical in nature, but they will really get you thinking about how language works, what it does, and what its limitation are.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I hope to someday be able to read works by all three of those authors. I own A Course in General Linguistics. But, it was dry and confusing. I'm hoping to come across some of those concepts dispersed throughout other readings that are a bit less dense to slowly work my way there.

Thank you for providing the references though! It is good for me to keep them in mind so I can double back. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LuchairF
LuchairF
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Yes I am interested.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/YozakuraHime

I have a possible suggestion: The Fall of Language in the Age of English: https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Language-Age-English/dp/0231163029 It's about how as English becomes more widespread, other languages might decline.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Be sure to take some notes in the upcoming week. I will post the first discussion post one week from today. So, check your local book stores and library and let's get reading.

Our goal is 50 pages per week, or just under 10 pages a day.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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PS, Here is a basic prompt to get us started:

What alternative titles can you give to any or all of the first 6 chapters? Bonus points if you can come up with something humorous. If you would like to include a humorous way to summarize the chapter, that works as well. And, for anyone who is interested in making artistic representations of one or more chapters and/or titles, yes please do!

Since I need to read these chapters as well, I have no idea if they will lend themselves to re-titling, humorous or not. But, hey it gets us thinking, right? :D

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jude490741
Jude490741Plus
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Have you posted any separates posts regarding this particular book? I haven't been reading thru the discussions this past week. My book came in the mail today. How far have you gotten? I'll be able to read some tonight but not sure my schedule will allow it tomorrw. I do want to try and catch up.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Just this one https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20948966 We might adjust how much we read each week depending on how much time we spend on discussions. Glad to have you with us! I look forward to adding you to our Slack discussion group. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Just wanted to let everyone know that I've posted the next installment to this discussion. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Gearing up for a new post for Chapters 4-6! I will probably make the post tomorrow, once the others in our off site group have had a chance to post comments and give responses.

1 year ago