Language Myths

Language Myths

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A unique collection of original essays by 21 of the world's leading linguists. The topics discussed focus on some of the most popular myths about language: The Media Are Ruining English; Children Can't Speak or Write Properly Anymore; America is Ruining the English Language. The tone is lively and entertaining throughout and there are cartoons from Doonesbury andThe Wizard of Id to illustrate some of the points. The book should have a wide readership not only amongst students who want to read leading linguists writing about popular misconceptions but also amongst the large number of people who enjoy reading about language in more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 14mm | 158.76g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0140260234
  • 9780140260236
  • 89,578

About Laurie Bauer

Peter Trudgill and Laurie Bauer are both respected linguists. Trudgill has written many books for Penguin (including Sociolinguistics which has sold 130,000 copies since it was first published in 1974). Other contributors include Jean Aitchison (Professor of Language at Oxford), Lars Gunnar-Andersson (co-author of Bad Language with Trudgill) and Janet Holmes (Women, Men and Politeness, 1995, Longman). Peter Trudgill lives in Lausanne (and sometimes Norwich.) Laurie Bauer lives in New more

Back cover copy

Language is a part of us all and is tightly woven into human experience. Yet, although research into language has increased at a phenomenal rate over the last fifty years, misconceptions abound.This illuminating and highly readable collection of essays explores some of the myths, for example: standards of children's speech and writing have declined; women talk too much; the 'purity' of the English language is under threat; some languages are more attractive to the ear or are harder to learn than others; the media has a detrimental effect on language. These widely held views are questioned and shown to be based on inadequate or false information, or simply, not to be true. Other essays explore spelling problems, attitudes towards accents, controversies over changes in language, and the belief that some languages have no grammar.Written by a team of leading linguists, Language Myths contains many valuable insights and provides a fascinating introduction into the way language works. The contributors are: Jean Aitchison -- John Algeo -- Lars-Gunnar Andersson -- Laurie Bauer -- Winifred Bauer -- Edward Carney -- J. K. Chambers -- Jenny Cheshire -- John H. Esling -- Nicholas Evans -- Howard Giles and Nancy Niedzielski -- Ray Harlow -- Janet Holmes -- Anthony Lodge -- James Milroy -- Lesley Milroy -- Michael Montgomery -- Dennis R. Preston -- Peter Roach -- Peter Trudgill -- Walt Wolframshow more

Review Text

If we think the Media Are Ruining English, or French Is a Logical Language, that Women Talk Too Much and Everyone Has an Accent but Me, we are wrong and 'prejudices based on the way other people speak are akin to racism and sexism'. The professional linguists who contribute to this book show that often these pet beliefs are what it was once politically permissible to call old wives' tales, or national or social snobberies with no linguistic justification. Some of these knock-down arguments are naturally more convincing than others, but this is a wide-ranging and lively collection. (Kirkus UK)show more

Table of contents

A Note on the ContributorsIntroductionMyth 1: The Meanings of Words Should Not be Allowed to Vary or Change: Peter Trudgill Myth 2: Some Languages Are Just Not Good Enough: Ray Harlow Myth 3: The Media Are Ruining English: Jean Aitchison Myth 4: French is a Logical Language: Anthony Lodge Myth 5: English Spelling is Kattastroffik: Edward Carney Myth 6: Women Talk Too Much: Janet Holmes Myth 7: Some Languages Are Harder than Others: Lars-Gunnar Andersson Myth 8: Children Can't Speak or Write Properly Any More: James Milroy Myth 9: In the Appalachians They Speak like Shakespeare: Michael Montgomery Myth 10: Some Languages Have No Grammar: Winifred Bauer Myth 11: Italian is Beautiful, German is Ugly: Howard Giles and Nancy Niedzielski Myth 12: Bad Grammar is Slovenly: Leslie Milroy Myth 13: Black Children are Verbally Deprived: Walt Wolfram Myth 14: Double Negatives Are Illogical: Jenny Cheshire Myth 15: TV Makes People Sound the Same: J. K. Chambers Myth 16: You Shouldn't Say "It Is Me" because "Me" is Accusative: Laurie Bauer Myth 17: They Speak Really Bad English Down South and in New York City: Dennis R. Preston Myth 18: Some Languages Are Spoken More Quickly than Others: Peter Roach Myth 19: Aborigines Speak a Primitive Lanugage: Nicholas Evans Myth 20: Everyone Has an Accent Except Me: John H. Esling Myth 21: America is Ruining the English Language: John Algeo Indexshow more

Rating details

820 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 22% (177)
4 37% (305)
3 31% (255)
2 8% (68)
1 2% (15)
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