The Secret Life of Pronouns

The Secret Life of Pronouns

What Our Words Say About Us

Book - 2011 | 1st U.S. ed.
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Draws on groundbreaking research in computational linguistics to explain what language choices reveal about feelings, self-concept, and social intelligence, in a lighthearted treatise that also explores the language personalities of famous individuals.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781608194803
Branch Call Number: 425.55 PENNEBA
Characteristics: xii, 352 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


From Library Staff

Even the smallest words can reveal a great deal about your identity and personality. After reading this, you'll pay more attention to how you and others use pronouns.

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squib May 14, 2018

although the discovery that our use of many words that don't really register (pronouns, articles, etc.) reflect some aspect of our inner states (whether inculturated or innate). it's an interesting analysis, however, it requires statistical computation to determine tendencies in language use. Unfortunately, this is impractical for most of us.

Nevertheless, there are a number of interesting lessons to be learned from this work.

Jan 04, 2014

Fascinating, and a little creepy, The Secret Life of Pronouns gives the layperson an overview of what linguists are discovering and psychopaths already know instinctively: our language patterns reveal much of who we are. Whether by careful listening, or by computerized word counting, those who want to gain insight--or just an unfair advantage--can go spelunking in your subconscious with no more equipment than the words you choose and the paragraphs in which they appear.

The word-counting and analysis of author James W. Pennebaker and his students shows how "I" word usage means much, much more than you think, and a good deal of it counter-intuitive, to boot. That's the fascinating part.

Some of the work cited in this book will probably inform computer programs that will soon enough be able to identify you through your writing style, no matter how many internet personae you adopt. That's the creepy part.

In these days of citizen uprisings and anonymous internet free speech, I fear for the future of rabble rousing.

Jul 25, 2012

insightful, about how our personality affects our word choice


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