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.
Results 1-3 of 68
In colloquial speech, this sentence is actually most often pronounced je vois rien,
with only one negative element — but this is seen as incorrect French! French
also has multiple negation: Nobody has ever seen anything is: Personne n-'a ...
However, as we have seen, African languages are extremely unlike English in all
ways — sound structure (note the pure consonant-vowel structure of the Ewe
sentence above) and word order are utterly foreign to any English white or Black.
... and the use of seen and done as past tense forms (I done my work, I seen that
movie) even some habitual be. In general, you can get a vivid sense of how
similar these dialects are by renting the film Slingblade, paying particular
attention to ...
What people are saying - Write a review
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