Do You Speak American?

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 228 pages
Is the growing influence of Spanish threatening to displace English in the United States? Are America's grammatical standards in serious decline? Has the media saturation of our culture homogenized our speech?

These and other questions catapulted Robert MacNeil and William Cran, coauthors of the language classic The Story of English, on a journey that took them around the country in search of answers. Do You Speak American?, the companion volume to a PBS special, is the tale of the surprising discoveries they made while interviewing a host of native speakers and observing everyday verbal interactions across the country. Examining the histories and controversies surrounding both written and spoken American English, MacNeil and Cran address highly emotional anxieties and assumptions about our language-and offer some unpredictable responses.

With insight and wit, MacNeil and Cran bring us a compelling follow-up to The Story of English that is at once a celebration and a potent study of our singular language.
 

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User Review  - mirrani - LibraryThing

I am not a linguist, but I was raised by one. As a result of hearing different languages and different language dialects throughout my life, I have a love of listening to the various dialects of ... Read full review

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User Review  - quaintlittlehead - LibraryThing

This book was written as a "companion" to the PBS series of the same name. As a linguistics teacher, I have shown that series in my classes several times, so that probably coloured my reading of this ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
The Language Wars
9
Changing Dialects Dingbatters Versus HoiToiders
31
Toward a Standard Putting the R in American
49
This Aint Your Mamas South Anymore
67
Hispanic Immigration Reconquest or Assimilation?
89
Badmouthing Black English
115
Language from a State of Change
151
Teaching Computers to Speak American
179
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
203
NOTES
205
LINGUISTS CONSULTED
211
BIBLIOGRAPHY
213
INDEX
217
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

ROBERT MacNEIL and WILLIAM CRAN are the coauthors of The Story of English (with Robert McCrum). The coanchor of PBS's The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour until his retirement in 1995, Robert MacNeil is also the author of two volumes of memoir and three novels, including, most recently, Breaking News. He lives in New York City.