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Language and Power

A Resource Book for Students

By Paul Simpson, Andrea Mayr

Routledge – 2010 – 256 pages

Series: Routledge English Language Introductions

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartPaperback: $47.95
    September 27th 2009
  • Add to CartHardback: $130.00
    September 28th 2009


Routledge English Language Introductions cover core areas of language study and are one-stop resources for students.

Assuming no prior knowledge, books in the series offer an accessible overview of the subject, with activities, study questions, sample analyses, commentaries and key readings – all in the same volume. The innovative and flexible ‘two-dimensional’ structure is built around four sections – introduction, development, exploration and extension – which offer self-contained stages for study. Each topic can also be read across these sections, enabling the reader to build gradually on the knowledge gained.

Language and Power:

  • offers a comprehensive survey of the ways in which language intersects and connects with the social, cultural and political aspects of power,
  • provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of the field, and covers all the major approaches, theoretical concepts and methods of analysis in this important and developing area of academic study;
  • covers all the ‘traditional’ topics, such as race, gender and institutional power, but also incorporates newer material from forensic discourse analysis, the discourse of new capitalism and the study of humour as power;
  • includes readings from works by seminal figures in the field, such as Roger Fowler, Deborah Cameron and Teun van Dijk;
  • uses real texts and examples throughout, including advertisements from cosmetics companies; newspaper articles and headlines; websites and internet media; and spoken dialogues such as a transcription from the Obama and McCain presidential debate;
  • is accompanied by a supporting website that aims to challenge students at a more advanced level and features a complete four-unit chapter which includes activities, a reading and suggestions for further work.

Language and Power will be essential reading for students studying English language and linguistics.

Paul Simpson is Professor of English Language in the School of English at Queen’s University Belfast, UK, where he teaches and researches in stylistics, critical linguistics and related fields of study.

Andrea Mayr is Lecturer in Modern English Language and Linguistics at Queen’s University Belfast, UK, where she teaches and researches in media discourse and in multimodal critical discourse analysis.


‘Superb contribution to the field of applied linguistics. A clear and comprehensive treatment of the role of symbolic power in all uses of language in the 'real world', it engages the reader in both detailed analyses of discourse data and an understanding of their theoretical importance. For undergraduate students, it fosters a language awareness indispensable for a critical general education.’ Claire Kramsch, University of California, Berkeley, USA

‘This excellent textbook provides authentic examples with thought-provoking discussions about the way language works in cultural contexts to shape ideologies and create unequal balances of social power.’ Suzanne Quay, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

‘As well as lucidly introducing a comprehensive range of approaches to the study of language and power, this rich and diverse volume provides numerous fascinating demonstrations of how close linguistic analysis can reveal the complex relationships between language, power, coercion and resistance. This, together with its clear and accessible style, makes it an invaluable classroom text.’ Michael Pearce, University of Sunderland, UK


Section A: Introduction 1. Language and power 2. The discourse of institutions and organizations 3. Power and talk 4. Language and gender 5. Language and race 6. Power and the language of humour 7. Language and the law 8. Language and advertising 9. Language in the new capitalism 10. Language and politics 11. Evaluation and re-evaluation: Studying language and power Section B: Development 1. Critical Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis 2. Registers of discourse 3. Studying spoken discourse 4. Gender and power: using the Transitivity model 5. The representation of social actors 6. The discourse of humour and irony 7. Developments in forensic discourse analysis 8. Advertising discourse: methods for analysis 9. Language and new capitalism: developments 10. Studying Political Discourse: Developments 11. Language and power: extending the analysis Section C: Exploration 1. Beginning analysis 2. Exploring Register and Ideology 3. Power and resistance in spoken discourse 4. Analysing gender 5. A workshop on the representation of social actors 6. Analysing humour and power 7. Analysing language in the legal context 8. Analysing advertisements 9. Analysing the language of New Capitalism 10. Analysing political discourse 11. Practicing corpus-assisted Critical Discourse Analysis Section D: Extension 1. Critical Linguistics, Roger Fowler and Gunther Kress 2. Bureaucracy and social control, Srikant Sarangi and Steff Slembrouck 3. Power and resistance in police interviews, Kate Haworth 4. Masculinity and men’s magazines, Bethan Benwell 5. Discourse and the denial of racism, Theo van Dijk 6. Humour and hatred, Michael Billig 7. Forensic Linguistics, Malcolm Coulthard 8. Language style and life style, David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen 9. Language in the global service economy, Deborah Cameron 10. Critical Metaphor Analysis, Jonathan Charteris-Black 11. Speaking sincerely, Martin Montgomery

Name: Language and Power: A Resource Book for Students (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Paul Simpson, Andrea Mayr. Routledge English Language Introductions cover core areas of language study and are one-stop resources for students. Assuming no prior knowledge, books in the series offer an accessible overview of the subject, with activities, study questions, sample...
Categories: Language & Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Language and Power