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The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker.. Fascinating study of so-called function words, and how they tell us what we’re really thinking and ways we navigate relationships. Wide-ranging and enjoyable, complete with self-tests! Like college, without the grade.

Joel Gardner, LitSnap Editor

"The author successfully demonstrates that seemingly innocuous function words—I, me, you, he, can, for, it, of, this—play a crucial role in understanding identity, detecting emotions and realizing intention; they also provide important clues about social and cultural cohesion."

Kirkus Reviews

"The under-the-radar sneakiness of function words actually makes them uniquely suited to Pennebaker’s wide-ranging research goals, which focus on uncovering traces of our social identity and individual psyche in everyday language use. It also helps that these little words make up a vast majority of the most common words in the language, which means that Pennebaker and his colleagues can collect them in large enough numbers to support statistical analysis of a whole variety of texts, from Twitter posts to despairing poetry."

The New York Times

Author bio: James W. Pennebaker is Professor and Chair of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He and his students are exploring the links between emotional experiences, natural language, and physical and mental health. His most recent research focuses on how everyday language reflects basic social and personality processes. Author or editor of 9 books and over 250 articles, Pennebaker has received numerous awards and honors. More information can be found here:

Book Details: Nonfict Other; (368 pp. Psycholingual: Kindle/Print editions)

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