Creating intergenerational distance: Language, communication and middle-age

Jake Harwood, Howard Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The years of 'middle-age' have received very little attention in the social sciences. We review the two primary strains of research in the area-one concerned with demonstrating the existence of a mid-life crisis, and the other aiming to demonstrate stability in mid-life. Results from a survey are presented which provide initial indications of the importance of linguistic and communicative processes to an understanding of mid-life. In closing, Communication Accommodation Theory is invoked in the development of a model of one particular process within the area of communication and middle-age-the socialization of the middle-aged into elderly roles. This process is described as 'intergenerational distancing'. The importance of language and communication processes in the development of certain crisis situations is outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-38
Number of pages24
JournalLanguage Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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