Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


May I Quote You on That?

By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

Edited By Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank

This book "examines the reasons behind the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why it matters, and what can be done to document and support endangered languages."

Academic Paper

Title: Othering in Gossip: “You go out you have a laugh and you can pull yeah okay but like…”
Adam Jaworski
Institution: Cardiff University
Justine Coupland
Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: None
Abstract: It has been claimed that gossip allows participants to negotiate aspects of group membership, and the inclusion and exclusion of others, by working out shared values. This article examines instances of gossipy storytelling among young friends during which participants negotiate self- and other-identities in particular ways. Participants are found to share judgments not only about others' behavior but also about their own behavior through particular processes of othering. A range of discursive strategies place the characters in gossip-stories (even in the category called “self-gossip”) in marginalized, liminal, or uncertain social spaces. In the gossipy talk episodes examined, social “transgression” might be oriented to as a serious matter and thus pejorated, or oriented to in a playful key and thus celebrated. This ambiguity – “Do we disapprove or approve, of this ‘bad’ behavior?” – means that in negotiating the identity status of “gossipees” liminality is constant. It is argued that othering, as an emergent category, along with the particular discursive strategies that achieve it, is an aspect of gossip that deserves further attention.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 34, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page