Investigating Intimate Discourse: Exploring the spoken interaction of families, couples and friends, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Investigating Intimate Discourse

Exploring the spoken interaction of families, couples and friends, 1st Edition

By Brian Clancy


178 pages

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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.


'How refreshing to have a study devoted to the most pervasive and important form of human interaction which remains relatively under-researched. Dr Clancy's study is insightful and thought-provoking and, through his astute choice of examples, he reminds us of just how central this form of communication is in building and maintaining our relationships with one another.' Martin Warren, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China

Table of Contents

1. Intimate Discourse: An Overview 2. Approaches to Analysing Intimate Discourse 3. A Framework for the Analysis of Intimate Discourse 4. The Shared Linguistic Repertoire of Intimates 5. The Pragmatics of 'Being Intimate' 6. Linguistic Variation and Intimate Discourse 7. Conclusion

About the Author

Brian Clancy is a lecturer in academic writing and research methods at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland. He is co-author of Introducing Pragmatics in Use (Routledge, 2011).

About the Series

Domains of Discourse

The Routledge Domains of Discourse series features cutting edge research on specific areas and contexts of spoken language, bringing together the framework and tools for analysis of a discourse.

As our understanding of spoken communication develops, corpus linguistics promises to provide the unifying link between previously compartmentalized areas of spoken language such as media discourse and language pedagogy.

Designed to present research in a clear and accessible form for students and researchers or practitioners, each title in the series is developed around three strands:

  • Content each title focuses on the subject matter of a particular discourse, e.g. media or business
  • Corpus each title is based on a collection of relevant spoken texts in its domain of discourse
  • Methodology each title engages with a number of approaches in language and discourse analysis

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General