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Anti-Languages

M. A. K. Halliday
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 78, No. 3 (Sep., 1976), pp. 570-584
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/674418
Page Count: 15
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Anti-Languages
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Abstract

At certain times and places we come across special forms of language generated by some kind of anti-society; these we may call "anti-languages." An anti-language serves to create and maintain social structure through conversation, just as an everyday language does; but the social structure is of a particular kind, in which certain elements are strongly foregrounded. This gives to the anti-language a special character in which metaphorical modes of expression are the norm; patterns of this kind appear at all levels, phonological, lexicogrammatical, and semantic. The study of anti-languages offers further insights into the relation between language and social structure, and into the way in which text functions in the realization of social contexts.

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