Intimate discourse – that between couples, family and close friends in private, non-professional settings – lies at the heart of our everyday linguistic experience. It creates and sustains our closest relationships. Using an innovative blend of the community of practice model with a corpus linguistic methodology, Brian Clancy expertly reveals the patterns that characterise the shared linguistic repertoire of intimates. Corpus methods such as frequency and concordance are thoroughly introduced, exemplified and systematically employed in order to operationalise the concept of the community of practice in relation to intimate discourse. A half-million-word corpus of intimate data collected in various settings throughout Ireland provides the data for insights into patterns such as intimates’ use of pronouns, vocatives, taboo language and pragmatic markers. The intimate linguistic repertoire that emerges is shown to facilitate the delicate balance between our instinctive desire to be involved in the lives of those closest to us while at the same time recognising their need for privacy and non-imposition. Investigating Intimate Discourse will primarily be of interest to postgraduate students and researchers working in the area, and to those working in related areas such as discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. Advanced undergraduates taking modules in those subjects will also find the book useful.
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