Socioeconomic Pragmatic Variation

Speech acts and address forms in context

Larssyn Staley | University of Zurich
ISBN 9789027200945 | EUR 90.00 | USD 135.00
ISBN 9789027263926 | EUR 90.00 | USD 135.00
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On a regular basis people encounter unfamiliar uses of pragmatic features, such as offers or requests with differing levels of directness or terms of address showing differing amounts of solidarity or deference. Variational pragmatics is the study of such uses, according to region, gender, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, among national and sub-national varieties of pluricentric languages. Despite the wide focus just outlined, this volume provides the first study of pragmatic variation across different social classes, using naturally occurring, interactional data. The discourse analyzed here was collected in over twenty restaurant service encounters spanning three price points. The aim of this study is two-fold: to provide a potential framework for how pragmatic variables and their context can be defined, using the concept of a communicative activity, and to investigate socioeconomic variation in pragmatics by taking offers, thanks responses and address forms as examples. This study contributes, both on a methodological and empirical level, to the growing body of research in variational pragmatics, as well as speech acts, terms of address, relational work and sociolinguistics.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 291] 2018.  xiv, 201 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Variation in pragmatic categories is a rich sector for scholarly engagement, and Staley's treatment of offers, thanks responses, and terms of address is a triumphant case study in variational pragmatics and their intersection with socioeconomic status. Grounded in the collaborative co-construction of meaning, this book marks a rigorous methodological, theoretical and empirical contribution to the canon of language in social context—a must-read for sociolinguists of all stripes.”
“Staley's study provides a substantial and unique contribution to variational pragmatics. It is in fact the only large-scale analysis of socio-economic variation in language use so far, and a systematic examination of several pragmatic phenomena in the same type of speech event. With its innovative methodology – an original adaptation of Labov's famous department store study to pragmatics – and with its insistence on the crucial role of situational context, this study will be an inspiration to all researchers in discourse analysis and sociolinguistics, especially those interested in pragmatic variation and the language of service encounters.”
“This book makes a valuable contribution to the rather limited VP research on socioeconomic factors, while also addressing some fundamental methodological concerns regarding warranting comparability for pragmatic variation in naturally occurring data. It will provide theoretical, methodological and empirical inspirations for researchers in the fields of VP, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, discourse and related areas of linguistics.”
“The goals for this project were ambitious indeed—to attain Barron and Schneider’s (2009) criteria of empiricity, comparability and contrastivity, to create a sociolinguistically responsible pragmatics, and to answer the research questions. The book succeeds at all three of these. The data collection methodology was thoughtful, socially sensitive, and theoretically well-motivated. The three variables were well chosen. [...] The analysis of the material is multi-faceted, multi-lensed, and meticulous. Socioeconomic Pragmatic Variation should prove of interest to students of interaction, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics.”
“The book is highly recommended reading for individuals interested in linguistic research in general, and (variational) pragmatics in particular. Readers will benefit greatly from the book and in particular from its robust methodology, which shows how naturally occurring data can be collected without unnecessarily interrupting the normal restaurant service, and how contexts – social, linguistic, and cognitive – can be identified, and be of use when observing and interpreting the linguistic realization of pragmatic variables.”
Cited by

Cited by 16 other publications

Barron, Anne
2021. Contrastivity and comparability: pragmatic variation across pluricentric varieties. Sociolinguistica 35:1  pp. 189 ff. DOI logo
Barron, Anne
2021. Synchronic and Diachronic Pragmatic Variability. In The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics,  pp. 182 ff. DOI logo
Barron, Anne
2022. Responses to Thanks in Ireland, England and Canada: A Variational Pragmatic Perspective. Corpus Pragmatics 6:2  pp. 127 ff. DOI logo
Nicole Baumgarten & Roel Vismans
Bresin, Agnese, John Hajek & Heinz L. Kretzenbacher
Brinton, Laurel J.
2021. Responding to thanks. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 22:2  pp. 180 ff. DOI logo
Degenhardt, Julia & Tobias Bernaisch
2022. Apologies in South Asian Varieties of English: A Corpus-Based Study on Indian and Sri Lankan English. Corpus Pragmatics 6:3  pp. 201 ff. DOI logo
Fernández García, Francisco
2021. "Your hair looks great": Variación cultural, social y situational en el uso del halago. Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación 85  pp. 21 ff. DOI logo
Fernández-García, Francisco
2024. ¿Acercamiento solidario vs. distanciamiento respetuoso?. Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada/Spanish Journal of Applied Linguistics 37:1  pp. 233 ff. DOI logo
Huang, Chia-An & Jia-Fei Hong
2023. The Similarities and Differences of Thanks Responses between Native Speakers and Mandarin Teaching Materials in Taiwan. In Chinese Lexical Semantics [Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 13495],  pp. 399 ff. DOI logo
Schneider, Klaus P.
2021. Variational Pragmatics. In The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics,  pp. 663 ff. DOI logo
Schröder, Anne & Klaus P. Schneider
[no author supplied]
2021. Fundamentals of Sociopragmatics. In The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics,  pp. 13 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2021. Approaches and Methods in Sociopragmatics. In The Cambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics,  pp. 567 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 22 march 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009030: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Pragmatics
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2018014198 | Marc record