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Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 9781592404940
Release 2009-10-01
Pages 230
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A survey of the English language's usage mysteries considers the ways in which English developed and how it may reflect cultural values, in a reference that covers such topics as Celtic and Welsh influences, the origins of specific syntax patterns, and the role of language in forming early Britain. 25,000 first printing.



Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue Author John H. McWhorter
ISBN-10 1592403956
Release 2008
Pages 230
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Why do we say "I am reading a catalog" instead of "I read a catalog"? Why do we say "do" at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, author McWhorter distills hundreds of years of lore i



Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 1440634041
Release 2008-10-30
Pages 256
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A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar Why do we say “I am reading a catalog” instead of “I read a catalog”? Why do we say “do” at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Language distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history. Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century ad, John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor. Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English— and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for (and no, it’s not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition).



Words on the Move

Words on the Move Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 9781627794732
Release 2016-09-06
Pages 288
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A bestselling linguist takes us on a lively tour of how the English language is evolving before our eyes -- and why we should embrace this transformation and not fight it Language is always changing -- but we tend not to like it. We understand that new words must be created for new things, but the way English is spoken today rubs many of us the wrong way. Whether it’s the use of literally to mean “figuratively” rather than “by the letter,” or the way young people use LOL and like, or business jargon like What’s the ask? -- it often seems as if the language is deteriorating before our eyes. But the truth is different and a lot less scary, as John McWhorter shows in this delightful and eye-opening exploration of how English has always been in motion and continues to evolve today. Drawing examples from everyday life and employing a generous helping of humor, he shows that these shifts are a natural process common to all languages, and that we should embrace and appreciate these changes, not condemn them. Words on the Move opens our eyes to the surprising backstories to the words and expressions we use every day. Did you know that silly once meant “blessed”? Or that ought was the original past tense of owe? Or that the suffix -ly in adverbs is actually a remnant of the word like? And have you ever wondered why some people from New Orleans sound as if they come from Brooklyn? McWhorter encourages us to marvel at the dynamism and resilience of the English language, and his book offers a lively journey through which we discover that words are ever on the move and our lives are all the richer for it.



Talking Back Talking Black

Talking Back  Talking Black Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 1942658583
Release 2018-09-04
Pages 192
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An authoritative, impassioned celebration of Black English, how it works, and why it matters--now in paperback!



What Language Is

What Language Is Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 9781101644454
Release 2013-02-12
Pages 240
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New York Times bestselling author and renowned linguist, John McWhorter, explores the complicated and fascinating world of languages. From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin - What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar. An eye-opening tour for all language lovers, What Language Is offers a fascinating new perspective on the way humans communicate. From vanishing languages spoken by a few hundred people to major tongues like Chinese, with copious revelations about the hodgepodge nature of English, John McWhorter shows readers how to see and hear languages as a linguist does. Packed with Big Ideas about language alongside wonderful trivia, What Language Is explains how languages across the globe (the Queen's English and Surinam creoles alike) originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. Raising provocative questions about what qualifies as a language (so-called slang does have structured grammar), McWhorter also takes readers on a marvelous journey through time and place-from Persian to the languages of Sri Lanka- to deliver a feast of facts about the wonders of human linguistic expression.



The Creole Debate

The Creole Debate Author John H. McWhorter
ISBN-10 9781108601931
Release 2018-05-17
Pages
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Creoles have long been the subject of debate in linguistics, with many conflicting views, both on how they are formed, and what their political and linguistic status should be. Indeed, over the past twenty years, some creole specialists have argued that it has been wrong to think of creoles as anything but language blends in the same way that Yiddish is a blend of German and Hebrew and Slavic. Here, John H. McWhorter debunks the most widely accepted idea that creoles are created in the same way as 'children', taking characteristics from both 'parent' languages, and its underlying assumption that all historical and biological processes are the same. Instead, the facts support the original, and more interesting, argument that creoles are their own unique entity and are among the world's only genuinely new languages.



The Story of English

The Story of English Author Robert McCrum
ISBN-10 0571275087
Release 2011
Pages 468
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From the author of Globish, a new edition of the acclaimed history of the English language.



Losing the Race

Losing the Race Author John H. McWhorter
ISBN-10 9780684836690
Release 2000
Pages 285
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A professor of linguistics paints a controversial portrait of defeatism and pessimism in black America that threatens to hold young African Americans back.



The Power of Babel

The Power of Babel Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 9780060520854
Release 2003-01-07
Pages 352
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There are approximately six thousand languages on Earth today, each a descendant of the tongue first spoken by Homo sapiens some 150,000 years ago. While laying out how languages mix and mutate over time, linguistics professor John McWhorter reminds us of the variety within the species that speaks them, and argues that, contrary to popular perception, language is not immutable and hidebound, but a living, dynamic entity that adapts itself to an ever-changing human environment. Full of humor and imaginative insight, The Power of Babel draws its illustrative examples from languages around the world, including pidgins, Creoles, and nonstandard dialects.



The Language Hoax

The Language Hoax Author John H. McWhorter
ISBN-10 9780199361601
Release 2014-04-01
Pages 224
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Japanese has a term that covers both green and blue. Russian has separate terms for dark and light blue. Does this mean that Russians perceive these colors differently from Japanese people? Does language control and limit the way we think? This short, opinionated book addresses the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which argues that the language we speak shapes the way we perceive the world. Linguist John McWhorter argues that while this idea is mesmerizing, it is plainly wrong. It is language that reflects culture and worldview, not the other way around. The fact that a language has only one word for eat, drink, and smoke doesn't mean its speakers don't process the difference between food and beverage, and those who use the same word for blue and green perceive those two colors just as vividly as others do. McWhorter shows not only how the idea of language as a lens fails but also why we want so badly to believe it: we're eager to celebrate diversity by acknowledging the intelligence of peoples who may not think like we do. Though well-intentioned, our belief in this idea poses an obstacle to a better understanding of human nature and even trivializes the people we seek to celebrate. The reality -- that all humans think alike -- provides another, better way for us to acknowledge the intelligence of all peoples.



Empires of the Word

Empires of the Word Author Nicholas Ostler
ISBN-10 0062047353
Release 2011-03-22
Pages 640
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Nicholas Ostler's Empires of the Word is the first history of the world's great tongues, gloriously celebrating the wonder of words that binds communities together and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe, these epic achievements and more are brilliantly explored, as are the fascinating failures of once "universal" languages. A splendid, authoritative, and remarkable work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet's diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises.



Doing Our Own Thing

Doing Our Own Thing Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 9781446473221
Release 2011-06-30
Pages 304
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Once languages become written, they change. Only in writing does language develop the artfulness and richness that we associate with a Shakespeare, a Proust or a Whitman. Yet over the last forty years, the English-language has effectively gone into reverse - taking our lead from America and the legacy of the 1960s, our culture increasingly privileges the oral over the written, spurning the art of elaborated, 'written'-style language in favour of returning to the state of a spoken culture. Parallel developments have occurred in music. In this controversial and thought-provoking book, John McWhorter argues that the 1960's rejection of cultural traits associated with the Establishment, as well as a democratic celebration of what anyone can do over what requires training or talent, has led to our culture being increasingly impoverished, both intellectually and artistically...



The story of human language

The story of human language Author John H. McWhorter
ISBN-10 1565859499
Release 2004
Pages 232
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Professor McWhorter delivers lectures tracing the origins and history of language.



Language Interrupted

Language Interrupted Author John McWhorter
ISBN-10 9780195309805
Release 2007-06-18
Pages 323
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In Language Interrupted , linguist John McWhorter agrees that all languages are complex, but questions whether or not they are all equally complex. The topic of complexity has become a hot issue in recent years, particularly in creole studies, historical linguistics, and language contact.



Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity

Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity Author John H. McWhorter
ISBN-10 9781934078402
Release 2011-06-30
Pages 342
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In John McWhorter’s Defining Creole anthology of 2005, his collected articles conveyed the following theme: His hypothesis that creole languages are definable not just in the sociohistorical sense, but in the grammatical sense. His publications since the 1990s have argued that all languages of the world that lack a certain three traits together are creoles (i.e. born as pidgins a few hundred years ago and fleshed out into real languages). He also argued that in light of their pidgin birth, such languages are less grammatically complex than others, as the result of their recent birth as pidgins. These two claims have been highly controversial among creolists as well as other linguists. In this volume, Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity, McWhorter gathers articles he has written since then, in the wake of responses from a wide range of creolists and linguists. These articles represent a considerable divergence in direction from his earlier work.



What the F

What the F Author Benjamin K. Bergen
ISBN-10 9780465096480
Release 2016-09-13
Pages 288
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It may be starred, beeped, and censored--yet profanity is so appealing that we can't stop using it. In the funniest, clearest study to date, Benjamin Bergen explains why, and what that tells us about our language and brains. Nearly everyone swears-whether it's over a few too many drinks, in reaction to a stubbed toe, or in flagrante delicto. And yet, we sit idly by as words are banned from television and censored in books. We insist that people excise profanity from their vocabularies and we punish children for yelling the very same dirty words that we'll mutter in relief seconds after they fall asleep. Swearing, it seems, is an intimate part of us that we have decided to selectively deny. That's a damn shame. Swearing is useful. It can be funny, cathartic, or emotionally arousing. As linguist and cognitive scientist Benjamin K. Bergen shows us, it also opens a new window onto how our brains process language and why languages vary around the world and over time. In this groundbreaking yet ebullient romp through the linguistic muck, Bergen answers intriguing questions: How can patients left otherwise speechless after a stroke still shout Goddamn! when they get upset? When did a cock grow to be more than merely a rooster? Why is crap vulgar when poo is just childish? Do slurs make you treat people differently? Why is the first word that Samoan children say not mommy but eat shit? And why do we extend a middle finger to flip someone the bird? Smart as hell and funny as fuck, What the F is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to know how and why we swear.