Bibliography (in progress)

NB Contributions as part of edited volumes that deal specifically with silence are not listed individually here. Monographs and edited volumes dealing with silence and absence from a linguistic/discourse analysis point of view appear in bold letters. No exact line is drawn (as yet) between silence and secrecy, concealment, deception etc. and there is more literature e.g. on gender- and culture- specific silence; and probably a lot more in languages other than English and German. The current list is only a beginning.If you would like to suggest an addition, please email us.


Achino-Loeb, Maria-Luisa (ed.). 2006. Silence. The Currency of Power. New York; Oxford: Berghahn.

Anthonissen, Christine. 2003. “Challenging media censoring.” In: Re/reading the Past. Critical and Functional Perspectives on Time and Value, ed. by Jim Martin, and Ruth Wodak, 91–111. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Anthonissen, Christine. 2008. “The Sounds of Silence in the Media. Censorship and Self-Censorship.” In: Handbook of Communication in the Public Sphere, ed. by Ruth Wodak, and Veronika Koller, 401–428. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Basso, Keith H. 1972. “‘To give up on words’: Silence in Western Apache Culture.” In: Language and Social Context. Selected Readings, ed. by Pier P. Giglioli, 67–86. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Bauer, Erika. 1979. Sprache und Nicht-Sprechen.“ [~ Language and and non-speech] In: Sprache und Sprechen. Festschrift für Eberhard Zwirner zum 80. Geburtstag, ed. by Kennosuke Ezawa, and Karl Rensch, 25–34. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Bauer, Gerhard. 1990a. Sprache und Sprachlosigkeit im „Dritten Reich“. [Language and loss of language in the Third Reich] 2nd ed. Köln: Bund-Verlag.

Bellebaum, Alfred. 1992. Schweigen und Verschweigen. Bedeutungen und Erscheinungsvielfalt einer Kommunikationsform. [~ Silence and concealment. Meanings and variations of a form of communication] Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.

Benthien, Claudia. 2006. Barockes Schweigen. Rhetorik und Performativität des Sprachlosen im 17. Jahrhundert. [~ Baroque silence. Rhetoric and performativity of speechlessness in the 17th century] München: Fink. [Something related published in English: „Ambiguities of Silence: The Provocation of the Void for Baroque Culture”. Orthodoxies and Heterodoxies in Early Modern German Culture: Order and Creativity 1550-1750. Hrsg. von Randolph C. Head und Daniel Christensen. Leiden und Boston: Brill, 2007. 253-279. (Studies in Central European Histories 17)]

Bergmann, Jörg. 1982. “Schweigephasen im Gespräch – Aspekte ihrer interaktiven Organisation.“ [~ Silence in conversation – aspects of its interactive organisation] In: Beiträge zu einer empirischen Sprachsoziologie, ed. by Hans G. Soeffner, 143–184. Tübingen: Narr.

Beyrer, Klaus (ed.). 1999. Streng Geheim. Die Welt der verschlüsselten Kommunikation. [~ Top Secret. The World of encrypted communication (exhibition catalogue)] Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation. Heidelberg: Umschau/Braus.

Bilmes, Jack. 1994. “Constituting Silence. Life in the World of Total Meaning.” Semiotica 98 (1-2): 73–87.

Black, Edwin. 1988. “Secrecy and Disclosure as Rhetorical Forms.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 74: 133–150.

Bolden, Galina B. 2010. “‚Articulating the unsaid’ via and-prefaced formulations of others’ talk.” Discourse Studies 12(1): 5–32.

Brummett, Barry. 1980. “Towards a Theory of Silence as a Political Strategy.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 66: 289–303.

Bruneau, Thomas J. 1973. “Communicative silences. Forms and functions.” Journal of Communication 23: 17–46.

Bull, Peter, and Kate Mayer. 1993. “How Not to Answer Questions in Political Interviews.” Political Psychology 14 (4): 651–666.

Bull, Peter. 2003. The Microanalysis of Political Communication. London: Routledge. [Contains a typology of evasive answers in political interviews]

Burke, Peter. 1993. The Art of Conversation. Cambridge: Polity. [Contains a chapter on different types of silence]

Clair, Robin P. 1998. Organizing Silence. A World of Possibilities. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Clayman, Steven. 2001. “Answers and Evasions.” In: Language in Society 30: 403–442.

Clayman, Steven, and John Heritage. 2002. The News Interview. Journalists and Public Figures on the Air. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cotterill, Janet. 2005. “‘You do not have to say anything…’: Instructing the jury on the defendant’s right to silence in the English criminal justice system.” Multilingua 24 (1-2): 7–24.

Danler, Paul. 2006. “’Parlare senza dirlo’” – or – ‘Speaking without saying it’. The diathetically conditioned deletion of complements as a rhetorical device.” Journal of Language and Politics 5 (3): 305–324.

Ekström, Mats. 2009. “Announced Refusal to Answer: A Study of norms and accountability in Broadcast Political Interviews.” Discourse Studies 11 (6): 681–702.

Enninger, Werner. 1987. “What Interactants Do With Non-Talk Across Cultures.” In: Analyzing Intercultural Communication, ed. by Karlfried Knapp, Werner Enninger, and Annelie Knapp-Potthoff, 269–302. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.

Ephratt, Michal. 2008. “The Functions of Silence.” Journal of Pragmatics 40: 1909–1938.

Ephratt, Michal. 2011. “Linguistic, paralinguistic and extralinguistic speech and silence.” Journal of Pragmatics 43: 2286–2307.

Ephratt, Michal. 2014. “Silence”. In K.P. Schneider & A. Barron (Eds.), Pragmatics of Discourse (pp. 407-439). Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter

Erickson, Keith V., and Wallace V. Schmidt. 1982. “Presidential Political Silence. Rhetoric and the Rose Garden Strategy.” The Southern Speech Communication Journal 47: 402–421.

Fernández, Josefa Contreras. 2008. “Conversational silence and face in two sociocultural contexts.” Pragmatics 18 (4): 707–728.

Fetzer, Anita. 1999. “Challenging the unspoken. Exploiting the ideology in and of political interviews.” In: Language and ideology. Selected papers from the 6th international pragmatics conference, ed. by Jef Verschueren, 98–113. Vol 1. Antwerp: International Pragmatics Association.

Gal, Susan. 1989. “Between Speech and Silence: The Problematics of Research on Language and Gender.” In: IprA Papers in Pragmatics 3 (1): 1–38.

Galasiński, Dariusz. 2000. The Language of Deception. A Discourse Analytical Study. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Galasiński, Dariusz. 2003. “Silencing by Law. The 1981 Polish ‘performances and publications control act’.” In: Discourse and Silencing. Representation and the Language of Displacement, ed. by Lynn Thiesmeyer, 211–232. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Galasiński, Dariusz, and Aleksandra Galasińska. 2005. “Untold stories and the construction of identiy in narratives of ethnic conflict on the Polish-German border.” Multilingua 24 (1-2): 101–120.

Ghita, Andreea. 1997. “Pragmatic Aspects of Silence.” In: Dialoganalyse V. Referate der 5. Arbeitstagung Paris 1994, ed. by Etienne Pietri, 377–388. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Gilani, Zulfigar, Wilma Bucci, and Norbert Freedman. 1985. “The structure and language of a silence.” Semiotica 1-2: 99–113.

Glenn, Cheryl. 2004. Unspoken. A Rhetoric of Silence. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Grabher, Gudrun M., and Ulrike Jessner (eds.). 1996. Semantics of Silences in Linguistics and Literature. Heidelberg: Winter.

Grutschus, Anke, and Peter Krilles (eds.). 2010. Figuren der Absenz. Figures de l’absence. Berlin: Frank & Timme. [Contributions in French and German]

Harris, Sandra. 1991. Evasive Action: How Politicians Respond to Questions in Political Interviews. In: Broadcast Talk, ed. by Paddy Scannell, 76–99. London: Sage.

Hartog, Jennifer. 1990. “Das Schweigen der Experten und das Schweigen der Laien.” [~ The silence of the experts and the silence of the lays] OBST Osnabrücker Beiträge zur Sprachtheorie 42: 124–136.

Heinemann, Wolfgang. 1999. “Das Schweigen als linguistisches Phänomen.” [~ Silence as linguistic phenomenon] In: “..wortlos der Sprache mächtig.” Schweigen und Sprechen in der Literatur und in sprachlicher Kommunikation, ed. by Hartmut Eggert, and Janusz Golec, 301–314. Stuttgart, Weimar: Metzler.

Hermanns, Fritz. 2007. “Wovon war hier weniger die Rede? Arbeitsmarkt- und Wirtschaftspolitik als deutsche Wahlkampfthemen 2005, mit besonderer Beachtung des im Wahlkampf Ungesagten.” [~ What was it not about? Labour market and economic politics as election campaign issues 2005, with special attention to the unsaid]  aptum 3 (3): 196–208.

Hetzel, Mechthild, and Andreas Hetzel. 2007. “Die Sprache der Sprachlosen. Ebenen der Gewalt in der diskursiven Produktion von Behinderung.” [~ The language of the silenced. Levels of violence in the discursive production of disability] In: Verletzende Worte. Die Grammatik sprachlicher Missachtung, ed. by Steffen Herrmann, Sybille Krämer, and Hannes Kuch, 337–352. Bielefeld: transcript.

Hewitt, John Newton. 2001. “Must we cease to speak of Marx? The utopian imagery as taboo in the age of diminished expectations.” In: Utter Silence. Voicing the Unspeakable, ed. by Alice Mills, and Jeremy Smith, 17–30. New York: Peter Lang.

Houston, Marsha, and Cheris Kramarae. 1991. “Speaking from Silence: Methods of Silencing and of Resistance.” Discourse & Society 4: 387–399.

Huckin, Thomas. 2002. “Textual Silence and the Discourse of Homelessness.” Discourse & Society 13: 347–372.

Huckin, Thomas. 2010. “On Textual Silences, Large and Small.” In: Traditions of Writing Research, ed. By C. Bazerman , R. Krut et al. London: Routledge, 419-431.

Idema, Rick A.M. 1998. “Institutional Responsibility and Hidden Meanings.” Discourse & Society 4: 481–500.

Jalbert, Paul L. 1994. “Structures of the ‘Unsaid’”. Theory, Culture & Society 11: 127–160.

Jaworski, Adam. 1993. The Power of Silence. Social and Pragmatic Perspectives. Newbury Park, California: Sage.

Jaworski, Adam (ed.). 1997. Silence. Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Jaworski, Adam. 2000. “Silence and Small Talk.” In: Small Talk, ed. by Justine Coupland, 110–132. Harlow: Pearson.

Jaworski, Adam, and Dariusz Galasiński. 2000. “Strategies of Silence. Omission and ambiguity in The Black Book of Polish Censorship.” Semiotica 131 (1-2): 185–200.

Jaworski, Adam; Fitzgerald, Richard; Constantinou, Odysseas. 2005. “Busy saying nothing new. Live silence in TV reporting of 9/11.” Multilingua 24 (1-2): 121–144.

Jefferson, Gail. 1983. Notes on a Possible Metric which Provides for a ‘Standard Maximum’ Silence of Approximately One Second in Conversation. Tilburg: Tilburg Papers in Language and Literature.

Jensen, Vernon. 1973. “Communicative Functions of Silence.” ETC: A Review of General Semantics 30: 249–257.

Johannesen, R. L. 1974. “The Functions of Silence. A Plea for Communication Research.” Western Speech 38: 25–35.

Kamper, Dietmar (ed.). 1992. Schweigen. Unterbrechung und Grenze der menschlichen Wirklichkeit. [ Silence. Interruption and border of human reality] Berlin: Reimer.

McKenzie, Kevin. 2005. “The institutional provision for silence. On the evasive nature of politicans’ answers to reporters’ questions.” Journal of Language and Politics 4 (3): 443–463.

Kulick, Don. 2005. “The Importance of What Gets Left out.” Discourse Studies 7 (4-5): 615–624.

Kurzon, Dennis. 1995. “The Right of Silence. A Socio-Pragmatic Model of Interpretation.” Journal of Pragmatics 23: 55–69.

Kurzon, Dennis. 1998. Discourse of Silence. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Kurzon, Dennis (2007): “Towards a Typology of Silence.” Journal of Pragmatics 39: 1673–1688.

Lakoff, Robin Tolmach. 1995. “Cries and Whispers. The Shattering of the Silence.” In: Gender Articulated. Language and the Socially Constructed Self, ed. by Kira Hall, and Mary Bucholtz, 25–50. New York, London: Routledge.

Meise, Katrin. 1996. Une forte absence. Schweigen in alltagsweltlicher und literarischer Kommunikation. [Silence in everyday and literary communication] Tübingen: Narr.

Mendoza-Denton, Norma. 1995. “Pregnant Pauses. Silence and Authority in the AnitaHill-Clarence Thomas Hearings.” In: Gender Articulated. Language and the socially constructed self, eds. Kira Hall, Mary Bucholtz. New York, London: Routledge, 51–66.

Mills, Alice, and Jeremy Smith (eds.). 2001. Utter Silence. Voicing the Unspeakable. New York: Peter Lang.

Mumby, Dennis K., and Cynthia Stohl. 1991. “Power and Discourse in Organization Studies: Absence and the Dialectic of Control.” Discourse & Society 3: 313–332.

Nippert-Eng, Christena. 2010. Islands of Privacy. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press.

Noelle-Neumann, Elisabeth. 1984. The Spiral of Silence. Public Opinion – our Social Skin. 2nd ed. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press.

Oksaar, Els. 2001. “Pragmatische Aspekte des Schweigens. Interkulturelle Betrachtungen.” [~ Pragmatic aspects of silence from an intercultural point of view] In: Sprache im Leben der Zeit. Beiträge zur Theorie, Analyse und Kritik der deutschen Sprache in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Helmut Henne zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. by Armin Burkhardt, and Dieter Cherubim, 401–409. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Owzar, Armin. 2006. Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold. Konfliktmanagement im Alltag des wilhelminischen Obrigkeitsstaates. [Talk is silver, silence is golden. Everyday conflict management in the Wilhelmine authoritarian state] Konstanz: Universitätsverlag Konstanz.

Pappert, Steffen, Melani Schröter, and Ulla Fix (eds.). 2008. Verschlüsseln, Verbergen, Verdecken in öffentlicher und institutioneller Kommunikation. [Encoding, Hiding, Covering up in public and institutional communication] Berlin: Erich Schmidt.

Peters, John D. 1999. Speaking into the Air. A History of the Idea of Communication. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Phillpot, Clive, Mathieu Copeland, and Mai-Thu Perret (eds.) 2009. Voids/Vides. A Retrospective on Empty Exhibitions. Zürich: JRP Ringier.

Porpora, Douglas V., and Alexander Nikolaev. 2008. “Moral Muting in US Newspaper op-eds Debating the Attack on Iraq.” Discourse & Communication 2 (2): 165–184.

Pozhidaev, Dimitry. 2007. “What Statements Do not State. Sine Ira et Studio.” Journal of Language and Politics 6 (3): 327–349.

Rappert, Brian. 2009. Experimental Secrets: international security, codes, and the future of research. Lanham: University Press of America. 

Roberts, Alasdair. 2006. Blacked Out. Government Secrecy in the Information Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Robertson, K.G.. 1999. Secrecy and Open Government. Why Governments Want You to Know. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Rösch, Ulrich. 1999. Geheimhaltung in der rechtsstaatlichen Demokratie. Demokratietheoretische Überlegungen zum Informationsverhältnis zwischen Staat und Bürger sowie zwischen den Staatsgewalten. [~ Secrecy in democracy. Theory of democracy and information exchange between state and citizens as well as within executive institutions] in Wiesbaden: Nomos.

Rokoszowa, Jolanta. 1994. “Schweigen – ein Problem der Sprache.” [~ Silence – a problem of/within language] In: Satz – Text – Diskurs. Akten des 27. Germanistischen Kolloquiums, Münster 1992,ed. by Peter-Paul König, and Helmut Wiegers, 101–106. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Schmitz, Ulrich. 1990. Beredtes Schweigen – Zur Sprachlichen Fülle der Leere. Über Grenzen der Sprachwissenschaft” OBST Osnabrücker Beiträge zur Sprachtheorie 42:5–58. [English version: Eloquent Silence available online:]  

Schröter, Juliane. 2011. Offenheit. Die Geschichte eines Kommunikationsideals seit dem 18. Jahrhundert. [ ~ Openness. The history of an ideal of communication since the 18th century] Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.

Schröter, Melani. 2013. Silence and concealment in political discourse. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Scott, Robert L. 1972. “Rhetoric and Silence.” Western Speech 36 (3): 146–158.

Shenhav, Shaul R. 2007. “Detecting Stories. Revealing Hidden ‘Voices’ in Public Political Discourse.” Journal of Language and Politics 6 (2): 177–200.

Sider, Gerald. 2006. “Between Silences and Culture: A Partisan Anthropology.” In: Silence. The Currency of Power, ed. by Maria-Louisa Achino-Loeb, 141–157. New York, Oxford: Berghahn.

Sifianou, Maria. 1997. “Silence and Politeness.” In: Silence. Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. by Adam Jaworski, 63–84. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Sim, Stuart. 2007. Manifesto for Silence. Confronting the Politics and Culture of Noise. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Spitznagel, Albert (ed.). 1998. Geheimnis und Geheimhaltung. Erscheinungsformen – Funktionen – Konsequenzen. [~ Secrets and secrecy. Forms, functions – consequences] Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Stedje, Astrid. 1983. “‘Brechen Sie dies rätselhafte Schweigen‘ – über kulturbedingtes, kommunikatives und strategisches Schweigen.” [~ Break this mysterious silence – on cultural, communicative and strategic silence] In: Sprache und Pragmatik: Lunder Symposium 1982, ed. by Inger Rosengren, 7–35. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell.

Storjohann, Petra; Schröter, Melani. 2011. “ Die Ordnung des öffentlichen Diskurses der Wirtschaftskrise – und die (Un-)Ordnung des Ausgeblendeten.” [~ The order of the public discourse about the financial crisis – and the (dis)order of what gets left out] aptum 1: 32–53.

Tannen, Deborah, and Muriel Saville Troike (eds.). 1985. Perspectives on Silence. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Thiesmeyer, Lynn (ed.). 2003. Discourse and Silencing. Representation and the Language of Displacement. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Thurlow, Crispin, and Adam Jaworski. 2010. “Silence is golden: Elitism, linguascaping and ‘anti-communication’ in luxury tourism.” In: Semiotic Landscapes. Language, Image, Space, ed. by Adam Jaworski, and Crispin Thurlow, 187-218. London: Continuum.

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. 1995. Silencing the Past. Power and the Production of History. Boston: Beacon Press.

Ulsamer, Fleur. 2002. Linguistik des Schweigens. Eine Kulturgeschichte des kommunikativen Schweigens. [~ Linguistics of Silence. A cultural history of communicative silence] Frankfurt am Main etc.: Peter Lang.

Verheyen, Nina (2010): Diskussionslust. Eine Kulturgeschichte des ‚besseren Arguments‘ in Westdeutschland. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht.

Verschueren, Jef. 1985. What People Say They Do With Words. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex. [Contains a chapter on metalinguistic reference to silence]

Wandt, Karl-Heinz. 1988. “Schweigen – ein Desiderat sprachwissenschaftlicher Forschung?” [~ Silence – a desideratum of linguistic research?] In: Perspectives on Language in Performance .Studies in Linguistics, Literary Criticism and Language Teaching and Learning. To Honour Werner Hüllen on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday, ed. by Wolfgang Lörscher, and Rainer Schulze, 412–423. Tübingen: Narr.

Warnke, Ingo. 2002. “ Schweigen und Stille im öffentlichen Raum.“ [~ Silence and Quietness in public space] In: Semantische Aspekte öffentlicher Kommunikation, ed. by Inge Pohl, 43–53. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Watts, Richard J. 1997. “Silence and the acquisition of status in verbal interaction.” In: Silence. Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. by Adam Jaworski, 87–115. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Wooffitt, Robin, and Nicola Holt. 2010. “Silence and its organization in the pragmatics of introspection.” Discourse Studies 12 (3): 379–406.

Zimmermann, Klaus (1983): Überlegungen zu einer Theorie des Schweigens. [~ Towards a Theory of Silence] In: Sprache und Pragmatik. Lunder Symposium 1982, ed. by Inger Rosengren, 37–45. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.  

Zerubavel, Eviatar. 2006. The Elephant in the Room. Silence and Denial in Everyday Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zuo, Yan. 2002. Silence in Spontaneous Dyadic English Conversation. Structures, Meanings, and Functions. München: Lincom.

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