There are two parts which give meaning to our communications with each other: what we say, and how we say it. Language is not just a more effective form of expressing thought than Pictionary and charades. It is also a complex human creation that, when studied, reveals more about ourselves than we realize.
Dr. James Pennebaker is a professor at the University of Texas, and Chair of the Department of Psychology. His new book, The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us, is a startling investigation into the intricacies of a part of speech which is generally short in letters but long in meaning.
Pennebaker has broken ground with his research in computational linguistics, which counts the frequency of the words we use. Using those results, he is able to draw conclusions about what these words tell us about the speaker’s self-concept, social intelligence, and more. With examples from history, literature and popular culture, Pennebaker’s book will have you taking a second listen to the lyrics on your radio and the speeches on the presidential campaign trail.
Tonight at 7:30 pm, Pennebaker will be at BookPeople to discuss and sign his book. Just be careful when asking him to sign your copy; you never know what you might be revealing about yourself.