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Language in Thought and Action

S. I. Hayakawa and Alan R. Hayakawa
First Harvest, 1990
ISBN 0-15-648240-1

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This book is an excellent study of how language works in our lives. The authors have updated and made current the original 1939 version of Language in Action which examined the dangers of propaganda. The current work is a through examination of how language works in our lives, the influencing factors of today¹s environment, and the centrality of communication in human interaction.

Table of Contents:

Book One - The Functions of Language

  1. Language and Survival
  2. Symbols
  3. Reports, Inferences, Judgments
  4. Contexts
  5. The Double Task of Language
  6. The Language of Social Cohesion
  7. 7The Language of Social Control
Book Two - Language and Thought
  1. How We Know What We Know
  2. The Little Man Who Wasn¹t There
  3. Classification
  4. The Two-Valued Orientation
  5. The Multi-Valued Orientation
  6. Poetry and Advertising
  7. The Dime in the Juke Box
  8. The Empty Eye
  9. Rats and Men

This book is a non-fiction "must read" for Project Managers and aspiring Program Managers. It is the basis of successful project management via the use of strong communication skills. This book is designed to educate the reader using concepts that are first explained in straightforward terms and then illustrated by excellent examples that further exemplify the basic concept of each chapter.

The authors suggest that by using strong communication skills - both oral and written -- we can influence others and build cooperation and agreement for our desired goals. This study of language helps us to understand not only the influence of words chosen by the speaker but also the interpretation by the listener (or reader) and an understanding of how conflicts can develop. The bases of improving communication come from our understanding the function of language and the role it plays in our interaction with others.

Even the reader who is searching for one primary piece of clarification can scan the chapter names and end up engrossed in this well written, clearly documented, understandable study.

Contributed by Jean Lewis Gabardi, Integrated Project Systems

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