Making Meanings, Creating Family: Intertextuality and Framing in Family Interaction

Making Meanings, Creating Family: Intertextuality and Framing in Family Interaction

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A husband echoes back words that his wife said to him hours before as a way of teasing her. A parent always uses a particular word when instructing her child not to talk during naptime. A mother and family friend repeat each other's instructions as they supervise a child at a shopping mall. Our everyday conversations necessarily are made up of "old" elements of language-words, phrases, paralinguistic features, syntactic structures, speech acts, and stories-that have been used before, which we recontextualize and reshape in new and creative ways.

In Making Meanings, Creating Family, Cynthia Gordon integrates theories of intertextuality and framing in order to explore how and why family members repeat one another's words in everyday talk, as well as the interactive effects of those repetitions. Analyzing the discourse of three dual-income American families who recorded their own conversations over the course of one week, Gordon demonstrates how repetition serves as a crucial means of creating the complex, shared meanings that give each family its distinctive identity.

Making Meanings, Creating Family takes an interactional sociolinguistic approach, drawing on theories from linguistics, communication, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. Its presentation and analysis of transcribed family encounters will be of interest to scholars and students of communication studies, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and psychology-especially those interested in family discourse. Its engagement with intertextuality as theory and methodology will appeal to researchers in media, literary, and cultural studies.

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