The Politics of American English, 1776-1850

The Politics of American English, 1776-1850

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Language, its nature, and its uses have always been controversial topics. Starting from the premise that language is an important organizing principle in the life of human beings, and is experienced both individually and collectively, this study brings into focus the highly charged years in America between 1776 and 1850 when questions of language mirrored the social and political arguments of the time. David Simpson tells the story of the fierce debate on both sides of the Atlantic over what American English was, what it might become, and what it ought to be. With a strong narrative line, he shows that by the middle of the 19th century, America had a version of English recognizably its own. To explain how this happened and why, he provides detailed studies of Noah Webster and James Fenimore Cooper, a new reading of the mythologies of Native American languages, and an iconoclastic interpretation of the language philosophy informing many of the Transcendentalist writers.
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • 134.62 x 200.66 x 20.32mm | 294.83g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0195056434
  • 9780195056433