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Authored by: Gerry Philipsen

The Handbook of Communication in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138892095
eBook ISBN: 9781315709321
Adobe ISBN: 9781317485605


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Dell Hymes wrote that one way of getting at a native system of speech acts and speech events is by recording the words that people use to name them (1962). My teacher Ethel Albert reported that her ethnographic study of Burundi was informed by its attention to Burundi’s rich vocabulary for the description and evaluation of speech and in what she observed there as “a constant flow of speech about speech” (1964). Hymes (1962) and Albert (1964) are works that, prior to doing my Teamsterville fieldwork, conducted in 1969 to 1972, I had almost memorized by reading them faithfully and repeatedly. And so it is with some embarrassment that I reported, in a retrospective comment about a Teamsterville article, published in 1975, “Were I to re-do the study, I would try to develop a larger corpus than I had of Teamsterville utterances about communication, including a list of terms used to talk about talk (contextualized within utterance and situation)” (the quoted words appear in “Reflections on Speaking ‘Like a Man’ in Teamsterville,” in Carbaugh, Ed., 1990, 23).

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