The Word on the Street: Fact and Fable about American English
In The Word on the Street, John McWhorter reveals our American English in all its variety, beauty, and expressiveness. Debunking the myth of a "pure" standard English, he considers the speech patterns and accents of many regions and ethnic groups in the U.S. and demonstrates how language evolves. He takes up the tricky question of gender-neutral pronouns. He dares to ask, "Should we translate Shakespeare?" Focusing on whether how our children speak determines how they learn, he presents the controversial Ebonics debate in light of his research on dialects and creoles. The Word on the Street frees us to truly speak our minds. It is John McWhorter's answer to William Safire, transformed here into everybody's Aunt Lucy, who insists on correcting our grammar and making us feel slightly embarrassed about our everyday use of the language. ("To whom, " she will insist, and "don't split your infinitives!") He reminds us that we'd better accept the fact that language is always changing - not only slang, but sound, syntax, and words' meanings - and get on with the business of communicating effectively with one another.
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However, the popular conception of "grammar" is to what linguists do as alchemy
is to chemistry. The grammar that linguists study focuses on getting at the rules
underneath what people say, period. This is a rich and tricky business that has ...
Purism, whether in grammar or vocabulary, almost always means ignorance.
Language was made before grammar, not grammar before language. Chapter
Four —A— In Centenary Honor of Mark H. Liddell 86 The Word on the Street.
... 49 English borrowing from, 37 future perfect tense, 139 grammar hoaxes and,
64-71 Romance languages from, 10, 21-23, 24, 64, 270 Lava lamp analogy, 18-
19, 21, 23, 29 Leaverton, Lloyd, 218, 220 LeMoine, Noma, 236 Levine, Lawrence
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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
Lava Lamps and Language
The Linguistic Melting Pot
8 other sections not shown
Other editions - View all
The Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of "pure" Standard English
John H. McWhorter
Limited preview - 2001
Word On The Street: Debunking The Myth Of A Pure Standard English
Limited preview - 2009