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Jaylia3

Reflections

Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us

The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us - James W. Pennebaker Linguist buffs take note because this is not your typical word book. Its subject is not word origins, the evolution of language, or the fine points of grammar. Instead The Secret Life of Pronouns is more psychology than entomology. It explores and analyzes the little words we use, and author James W. Pennebaker makes the case that it’s these tiny, forgettable words that tell a lot about our personality, emotional state, style of thinking and connections with other people. These “little words” are not just the pronouns of the title, they are all function words, including articles like “a”, “an”, and “the” and prepositions like “of”, “from” and “toward”, that connect and organize the larger, more apparently important words like nouns and verbs. Using a computer program that took three years to write Pennebaker investigates and draws conclusions from the little function words in movies, of politicians, in college application essays, of lovers, of liars, in literature, of people in groups, and of leaders vs. followers. The results are not always intuitive, for instance it’s better for a politician to use “I” rather than “we”, but the conclusions are often interesting and sometimes fascinating.