Word On The Street: Debunking The Myth Of A Pure Standard English
Though there is a contingent of linguists who fight the fact, our language is always changing--not only through slang, but sound, syntax, and words' meanings as well. Debunking the myth of "pure" standard English, tackling controversial positions, and eschewing politically correct arguments, linguist John McWhorter considers speech patterns and regional accents to demonstrate just how the changes do occur. Wielding reason and humor, McWhorter ultimately explains why we must embrace these changes, ultimately revealing our American English in all its variety, expressiveness, and power.
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This kind of change has happened to every single one of the 5,000plus
languages on earth. Two thousand years ago, there was no such thing as the
French language. It was still Latin. Latin only developed into French (and
Spanish, Italian, ...
Illiterate societies actually have less trouble with language change than we do.
Having written language—those snapshots—is what throws us. Because
speaking is primarily an effortless, subconsciously controlled activity, we cannot
resist the ...
In other words, the progression from Old to Middle to Modem English shows us
that contrary to the impression so easy to harbor within our own lives: Language
change is not decay. What it comes down to is that we have an analogy problem.
Another example is the preservation of the s ending in the third person singular (
she sings), an odd, serendipitous choice as language change goes. If English
could develop again, either there would be no endings on verbs in the present ...
No record of the one language from which these dialects had branched off,
somewhere in Northern Europe in the B.C. ... we couldn't treat it as “the real
English” because since language is always changing, even that ancestral Old
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The word on the street: fact and fable about American EnglishUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
In the first section of this enlightening book, McWhorter (linguistics, Berkeley) examines language as "a system that is at all times on its way to changing into a different one." Not only are new ... Read full review
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The Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of "pure" Standard English
John H. McWhorter
Limited preview - 2001