Jack Sidnell

Department of Anthropology
University of Toronto, Canada

Jack Sidnell has conducted field research in the Caribbean, Vietnam, India and North America. The structures of social interaction have been the object of long term study. Other research has focused on the anthropology of knowledge and the ontology of action. His current research examines interlocutor reference (i.e. reference to speaker and hearer) in Vietnamese across a range of contexts including those involving the socialization of young children and those involving forms of public address (e.g. television and radio). This research poses a set of broad theoretical questions concerning the linguistic mediation of social relations and the consequences of linguistic diversity for social life.

Mary Bucholtz

Department of Linguistics
University of California, U.S.A.

The research of Mary Bucholtz lies in trying to understand how linguistic forms take on sociocultural meanings through their association with particular kinds of speakers, settings, and activities, and how these associations can be reinforced or altered in specific contexts. Through ethnographic and interactional methods, we can examine speakers’ own perspectives on this phenomenon: What identities matter in a local context? What ideologies about language and social categories influence speakers’ choices? How do speakers jointly and publicly engage in cognitive processes (thinking, feeling, perceiving) through embodied language use as part of social and cultural activities? To answer these questions, rather than examine a single linguistic feature or level, I prefer to investigate how multiple elements of language—from phonology to syntax to the lexicon—work together in embodied interaction, as well as how elements of language are represented ideologically through metalinguistic means. This sociocultural approach reveals the real-world consequences of language as a resource for social power and identity as well as for participating fully as a member of a culture.