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Evolutionary Syntax

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The Making of Vernacular Singapore English

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Academic Paper

Title: Local Discourse and Global Research: The role of local knowledge
Author: Michael Agar
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Ethknoworks and Friends Social Research Center
Linguistic Field: Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis
Abstract: Detailed analysis of transcripts is a time-honored practice among linguistic ethnographers. In contemporary research, however, interactions among global forces distant from ethnographic sites are critical for analysis and explanation, as is the fact that multiple sites must be covered. Ethnographers' interests, pragmatic relevance, and personal deixis militate against the ability of site-specific talk to serve as raw material for construction of the representations of those distant global forces. In this article, local discourse, as manifested in ethnographic oral-history interviews, is viewed first as a test of the impact of those global forces. Second, the talk is a construction that can be explained in terms of those forces' linkage with global representations. Finally, the concept "fractal" is suggested as a possible way to show such links.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 34, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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