I pick winners

September 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

though it had nothing to do with me

Niko Besnier has won the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) prize for best book with his Gossip and the Everyday Production of Politics which I just finished reading not so long ago. His book reflects on and theorises on the production of Gossip on Nukalaelae an atoll in Tuvalu. Who doesn’t like gossip? And perhaps a more telling question, who doesn’t gossip. Guys put your hands down. You are lying. Gossip here is framed in some very intriguing ways and is richly illustrated with bilingual data. It is nice to see so much of Tuvualan here, a language that Besnier knows very well, having already published a grammar of the language.

He has been a bit of linguistic anthropology hero of mine, after I saw him lecture one at Victoria University of London. Those of you who have done Pacific Languages may also recall his name from the excerpted account of the Miss Galaxy Beauty Pageant for the Fakaleiti of Tonga. Here analyses language choice and its meaning in creating a transnational identity for the so-called ‘third gender’ (not a particularly good description for these male-bodied beauty queens.

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