Understanding The Culture Of Conversation
By Michael H. Agar
(Harper Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780688149499, 288pp.)
Publication Date: December 6, 1996
The key to communication, says linguistic anthropologist Michael Agar, is understanding the context and culture of conversation. In Language Shock, Agar reveals how deeply our language and cultural values intertwine to define who we are and how we relate to one another. From paying an electric bill in Austria to opening a bank account in Mexico to handling a parking ticket in the United States, he shows how routine tasks become lessons in the subtleties of conversation when we venture outside our cultural sphere. With humorous, insightful stories from his extensive travels, Agar engages us in a lively study of "languaculture" and enriches our view of the world.
Michael Agar is the author of Ripping and Running and The Professional Stranger, among others. He is a professor emeritus in linguistic anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a consultant with Ethknoworks in Tacoma Park, Maryland.