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It’s complicated, dude (sociolinguistic investigations)

Scott F. Kiesling, who is a Sociolinguistic Professor at the Cathedral of Learning, Department of Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh, reminds us, via his blog, that complexity abounds.

I find myself saying (usually to myself), several times a day: “It’s not that simple!”

One of things that really gets to me about the world is the idea that there is a simple cause for big, complex problems. Journalists really like to do this, and of course politicians, but then again so do researchers in lots of fields including mine.”

One of the complex issues that the professor has investigated is ‘indirectness’ in language – going as far as to organize a special issue of the Journal of Pragmatics. Featuring essays on ‘Abduction and identity in family interaction: Ventriloquizing as indirectness’ and ‘Semantic and interactional indirectness in Tongan lexical honorification’.

Also don’t miss the professor’s paper ‘DUDE’ in American Speech 2004 Volume 79, Number 3: 281-305. (full version here) which Improbable first highlighted (highlit) here in 2006.


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