Reviewed by Richard W. Hallett, Northeastern Illinois University
Containing an overview of current developments and perspectives in studies of stylistic variation and their applications, this book begins with Juan Manuel Hernández-Campoy and Juan Antonio Cutillas-Espinosa’s ‘Introduction: Style-shifting revisited’ (1–18). This beginning chapter provides a brief overview of stylistic variation research and an outline of the chapters to follow. The remainder of the book is divided into two sections: ‘Style and sociolinguistic variation in political discourse’ and ‘Style and sociolinguistic variation in media interaction’.
Four chapters comprise Part 1. In ‘Speaker design strategies in political contexts of a dialectal community’ (21–43), Juan Manuel Hernández-Campoy and Juan Antonio Cutillas-Espinosa offer a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the speech of the former president of Murcia (Spain). In ‘Style-shifting in the U.S. Congress: The foreign (a) vowel in “Iraq(i)”’ (45–63),
Lauren Hall-Lew, Rebecca L. Starr, and Elizabeth Coppock investigate the /a/-/æ/variation in the second vowel in ‘Iraq(i)’ by members of the United States House of Representatives. Robert J. Podesva, Lauren Hall-Lew, Jason Brenier, Rebecca Starr, and Stacy Lewis investigate the Southerner, Westerner, African American, conservative, and careful dimensions of United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s linguistic features in ‘Condoleeza Rice and the sociophonetic construction of identity’ (65–80).
Highlighting ‘the importance of methodological interdisciplinarity in modern studies of stylistic variation’ (82), Barbara Soukup focuses on shifts from Austrian Standard German to Bavarian-Austrian dialect in ‘Speaker design in Austrian TV political discussions’ (81–99). To show how style is phonologically structured, Robert J. Podesva, Patrick Callier, and Jermay Jamsu analyze the word final (-t) in the speeches of six prominent United States politicians: George W. Bush, Hillary R. Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Condoleeza Rice, in ‘Recency, resonance, and the structuring of phonological style in political speeches’ (101–17).
The five remaining chapters constitute Part 2. Arguing that parody is important for investigating stylistic variables, Jennifer Sclafani examines parodies of Martha Stewart and Newt Gingrich, two well-known American personalities, in ‘Parodic performances as indexical negatives of style’ (121–37). In ‘Popular music singing as referee design’ (139–64), Andy Gibson and Allan Bell address the following research question: ‘are New Zealand singers putting on an American accent when they sing, or do they actually find it difficult to “take off” in the singing context?’ (164).
Anna Marie Trester examines the style of dialect performance in ‘Performing style: Improvisation and the linguistic (re)production of cultural knowledge’ (165–84). In ‘Dialect as style in Norwegian mass media’ (185–203), Thea R. Strand discusses her findings from her ethnographic fieldwork in rural Norway. Lastly, by analyzing a weekly Mandarin Chinese lifestyle-shopping program in ‘“Carry shopping through to the end”: Linguistic innovation in a Chinese television program’ (205–24), Qing Zhang discusses ‘newly available stylistic resources that can be employed to effect new social dimensions’ (222).
This book will appeal to any linguist interested in stylistics, especially those working in political discourse and media studies.