Reviews of   Words Matter: Communicating Effectively in the New Global Office

(University of California Press)


“Words Matter is a great resource for anyone involved with global or remote teams. . . .The solution lists in each chapter are lights along the path which provide a better communication strategy, no matter the size of your business or its goals. I strongly recommend this book for leaders in today’s global technology ecosystem. . . .”—Tonya Browning, Vice President, UX Engineering.

“This well-written, thoughtful book is geared towards business men and women who work in global teams, offering linguistic anthropological insights into how they might improve their cross-cultural communication and avoid mishaps. Miscommunication is often so frustrating and opaque when you are in the middle of it. These authors use succinct and to-the-point examples to illustrate how and why miscommunication in global workplaces happens so easily, and so frequently. The authors provide superb analytical tools and thoughtful suggestions for improving communication across cultures and continents.”—Ilana Gershon, author of The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media.

Words Matter addresses a core problem of real global interest—the common miscommunication associated with mediated collaborative work across national speech communities. Given the proliferation of such transnational groups, it is clear that the assumptions individuals bring to their business interactions—cognitive, emotional, personal—provide a rich and significant nexus for recognition, exploration, and for changing minds and practices. The authors write with spirit and insight. This is a very engaging read.”—Don Brenneis, UC Santa Cruz


Reviews of  Power Sharing: Language, Rank, Gender and Social Space in Pohnpei, Micronesia (Oxford University Press)

“Prior to the publication of Elizabeth Keating’s excellent new book, there was no ethnographically sophisticated description of Pohnpeian language as a mediator of interaction and hierarchy in traditional Pohnpeian society. Power Sharing redresses this gap in the literature in exemplary fashion. It is a theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich account of linguistic form, interactional process, and cultural meaning. Written in an accessible style, it deserves a large readership among anthropological linguistis, who will profit from its multiple framings of grammatical and lexical usage in the textures of Pohnpeian social life. Taken as a whole, the book counts as an eloquent argument by example for linguistically based, practice-oriented notions of “embodied culture.” J. Joseph Errington, Yale University (Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 2000).

“…this innovative consideration of how language is a tool for power-sharing, not dominance, in Pohnpeian society is a welcome clarification of consideration of rank and social stratification in Oceanic societies…As a linguistic anthropologist she shows how honorifics provide the foundation for interdependent intimacy and solidarity as well as, at time, creating social distance…’High status and low status are not just constituted as polarities but as states with differing degrees of agency and causality’ (p. 69). This very readable text is recommended as a further addition to our tools for examining hierarchy and social stratification in Oceanic as well as other societies.”  N.J. Pollock, Victoria University (in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2000).

“this highly original work analyzes the use of honorifics in a major Oceanic language. Based on extensive fieldwork, much of it conducted during traditional Pohnpeian feasts and public ceremonies with the aid of video recordings, Elizabeth Keating augments in important ways existing structural descriptions of the Pohnpeian system of honorific speech….Many of K’s observations are new and unexpected….This study obviously has important theoretical implications for the functional and typological analysis of other languages with elaborate systems of social deixis.” (Edward J. Vajda, Western Washington University, Language, 2001).