1st Edition

The Business of Words Wordsmiths, Linguists, and Other Language Workers

Edited By Crispin Thurlow Copyright 2020
    222 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Business of Words examines the practices of ‘high-end’ language workers or wordsmiths where we find words being professionally designed, institutionally managed, and, inevitably, objectified for status and profit.

    Aligned with existing work on language and political economy in critical sociolinguistics and discourse studies, the volume offers a novel, complementary insight into the relatively elite practices of language workers such as advertisers, dialect coaches, publishers, judges, translators, public relations officers, fine artists, journalists, and linguists themselves. In fact, the book considers what academics might learn about language from other wordsmiths, opening a space for ‘dialogue’ between those researching language and those who also stake a claim to linguistic expertise and a way with words.

    Bringing together an array of leading international scholars from the cognate fields of discourse studies, sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology, this book is an essential resource for researchers, advanced undergraduate, and postgraduate students of English language, linguistics and applied linguistics, communication and media studies, and anthropology.

    List of Contributors

    Chapter 1 – Crispin Thurlow

    The (Grubby) Business of Words: What ‘George Clooney’ Tells Us

    Part 1: Language Work and the Business of Words

    Chapter 2 – Alexandre Duchêne

    Unequal Language Work(ers) in the Business of Words

    Chapter 3 – Helen Kelly-Holmes

    The Linguistic Business of Marketing

    Part 2: Wordsmiths and Professional Language Work

    Chapter 4 – Geert Jacobs

    Unwriteable Discourse? Co-crafting the Language of Science News

    Chapter 5 – Crispin Thurlow and David Britain

    Voice Work: Learning About and From Dialect Coaches

    Chapter 6 – Adam Jaworski

    EAT, LOVE and Other (Small) Stories: Tellability and Multimodality in Robert Indiana’s Word Art

    Chapter 7 – Bronwen Innes

    Judges as Wordsmiths: Crafting Clarity and Neutrality in Summing-up for Juries

    Chapter 8 – Jamie Moshin and Crispin Thurlow

    Making (up) the News: The Artful Language Work of Journalists in ‘Reporting’ Taboo

    Part 3: Linguists and Political Economies of Expertise

    Chapter 9 – Alexandra Jaffe

    Framing Elite Knowledge in Shifting Linguistic Economies: The Case of Minority Language Translation

    Chapter 10 – Felictas Macgilchrist

    Beyond the Academic ‘But’: The Pleasures and Politics of Collaborative Language Work in the Publishing Industry

    Chapter 11 – Enam Al Wer & Maria Fanis

    The Commercialisation of Linguistic Expertise in the Asylum Vetting Process

    Chapter 12 – Elana Shohamy

    Engaging with School Principals as Language Policy Workers



    Crispin Thurlow is Professor of Language and Communication in the Department of English at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

    ‘In 1956, the French philologist Marcel Cohen suggested that language practices could usefully be understood as a form of work. Finally, decades later, we have a volume which takes up this idea seriously, exploring what language work/language as work tells us about questions of value, the social construction of reality, and social inequality in contemporary conditions. You won’t look at a keyboard – or a pen – the same way after you have read this book.’
    Monica Heller, Editor of the Journal of Sociolinguistics

    ‘This pioneering volume on the production of high-end wordsmithery explores previously unengaged aspects of the political economy of language. In detailed examinations of the work of journalists, PR writers, marketers, linguists, and others, we see their word-craft in ways that clarify their critical and often invisible roles as semiotic brokers.’
    Bonnie Urciuoli, Hamilton College (Emeritus), USA