Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

The Untold History of English
Author: John McWhorter
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1592404944
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 230
View: 6832

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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

The Untold History of English
Author: John H. McWhorter
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781592403950
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 230
View: 3716

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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

The Untold History of English
Author: John McWhorter
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781440634048
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 256
View: 2571

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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).

What Language Is

And What It Isn't and What It Could Be
Author: John McWhorter
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101644451
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 240
View: 9449

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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.

Empires of the Word

A Language History of the World
Author: Nicholas Ostler
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062047359
Category: History
Page: 640
View: 8520

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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.

Words on the Move

Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally)
Author: John McWhorter
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
ISBN: 1627794735
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 288
View: 344

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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.

The Story of English


Author: Robert McCrum,Robert MacNeil,William Cran
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780571275083
Category: English language
Page: 468
View: 7170

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From the author of Globish, a new edition of the acclaimed history of the English language.

The Power of Babel

A Natural History of Language
Author: John McWhorter
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 006052085X
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 352
View: 1603

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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


Author: John H. McWhorter
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199361606
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 224
View: 965

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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.

Talking Back, Talking Black

Truths About America's Lingua Franca
Author: John McWhorter
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9781942658207
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 192
View: 389

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An authoritative, impassioned celebration of Black English, how it works, and why it matters

This Language, A River

A History of English
Author: K. Aaron Smith,Susan M. Kim
Publisher: Broadview Press
ISBN: 155481362X
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 352
View: 9479

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This Language, A River is an introduction to the history of English that recognizes multiple varieties of the language in both current and historical contexts. Developed over years of undergraduate teaching, the book helps students both to grasp traditional histories of English and to extend and complicate those histories. Exercises throughout provide opportunities for puzzling out concepts, committing terms and data to memory, and applying ideas. A comprehensive glossary and up-to-date bibliographies help to guide further study.

Inventing English

A Portable History of the Language
Author: Seth Lerer
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231541244
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 320
View: 3029

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Seth Lerer tells a masterful history of the English language from the age of Beowulf to the rap of Eminem. Many have written about the evolution of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, but only Lerer situates these developments within the larger history of English, America, and literature. This edition features a new chapter on the influence of biblical translation and an epilogue on the relationship of English speech to writing. A unique blend of historical and personal narrative, Inventing English is the surprising tale of a language that is as dynamic as the people to whom it belongs.

Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity

Why Do Languages Undress?
Author: John H. McWhorter
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter
ISBN: 1934078409
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 342
View: 9806

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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.

The Unfolding of Language

An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention
Author: Guy Deutscher
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 1466837837
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 368
View: 1036

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Blending the spirit of Eats, Shoots & Leaves with the science of The Language Instinct, an original inquiry into the development of that most essential-and mysterious-of human creations: Language Language is mankind's greatest invention-except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Guy Deutscher's enthralling investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning? Drawing on recent groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication, giving us fresh insight into how language emerges, evolves, and decays. He traces the evolution of linguistic complexity from an early "Me Tarzan" stage to such elaborate single-word constructions as the Turkish sehirlilestiremediklerimizdensiniz ("you are one of those whom we couldn't turn into a town dweller"). Arguing that destruction and creation in language are intimately entwined, Deutscher shows how these processes are continuously in operation, generating new words, new structures, and new meanings. As entertaining as it is erudite, The Unfolding of Language moves nimbly from ancient Babylonian to American idiom, from the central role of metaphor to the staggering triumph of design that is the Semitic verb, to tell the dramatic story and explain the genius behind a uniquely human faculty.

The Creole Debate


Author: John H. McWhorter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108601936
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: N.A
View: 6564

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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 History of English

An Introduction
Author: Stephan Gramley
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136592687
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 464
View: 7526

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The History of English: An Introduction provides a chronological analysis of the linguistic, social, and cultural development of the English language from before its establishment in Britain around the year 450 to the present. Each chapter represents a new stage in the development of the language from Old English through Middle English to Modern Global English, all illustrated with a rich and diverse selection of primary texts showing changes in language resulting from contact, conquest and domination, and the expansion of English around the world. The History of English goes beyond the usual focus on English in the UK and the USA to include the wider global course of the language during and following the Early Modern English period. This perspective therefore also includes a historical review of English in its pidgin and creole varieties and as a native and/or second language in the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and Australasia. Designed to be user-friendly, The History of English contains: chapter introductions and conclusions to assist study over 80 textual examples demonstrating linguistic change, accompanied by translations and/or glosses where appropriate study questions on the social, cultural and linguistic background of the chapter topics further reading from key texts to extend or deepen the focus nearly 100 supporting figures, tables, and maps to illuminate the text 16-pages of colour plates depicting exemplary texts, relevant artefacts, and examples of language usage, including Germanic runes, the opening page of Beowulf, the New England Primer, and the Treaty of Waitangi. The companion website at www.routledge.com/cw/gramley supports the textbook and features: an extended view of major aspects of language development as well as synopses of material dealt with in a range of chapters in the book further sample texts, including examples from Chaucer, numerous Early Modern English texts from a wide variety of fields, and twenty-first-century novels additional exercises to help users expand their insights and apply background knowledge an interactive timeline of important historical events and developments with linked encyclopaedic entries audio clips providing examples of a wide range of accents The History of English is essential reading for any student of the English language.

The Thirty Years War


Author: Cicely Veronica Wedgwood
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590171462
Category: History
Page: 520
View: 5539

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Europe in 1618 was riven between Protestants and Catholics, Bourbon and Hapsburg--as well as empires, kingdoms, and countless principalities. After angry Protestants tossed three representatives of the Holy Roman Empire out the window of the royal castle in Prague, world war spread from Bohemia with relentless abandon, drawing powers from Spain to Sweden into a nightmarish world of famine, disease, and seemingly unstoppable destruction.

Sweetness and Power

The Place of Sugar in Modern History
Author: Sidney W. Mintz
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101666641
Category: History
Page: 320
View: 1321

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A fascinating persuasive history of how sugar has shaped the world, from European colonies to our modern diets In this eye-opening study, Sidney Mintz shows how Europeans and Americans transformed sugar from a rare foreign luxury to a commonplace necessity of modern life, and how it changed the history of capitalism and industry. He discusses the production and consumption of sugar, and reveals how closely interwoven are sugar's origins as a "slave" crop grown in Europe's tropical colonies with is use first as an extravagant luxury for the aristocracy, then as a staple of the diet of the new industrial proletariat. Finally, he considers how sugar has altered work patterns, eating habits, and our diet in modern times. "Like sugar, Mintz is persuasive, and his detailed history is a real treat." -San Francisco Chronicle

White Trash

The 400-year Untold History of Class in America
Author: Nancy Isenberg
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0670785970
Category: History
Page: 460
View: 8857

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"A history of the class system in America from the colonial era to the present illuminates the crucial legacy of the underprivileged white demographic, citing the pivotal contributions of lower-class white workers in wartime, social policy, and the rise of the Republican Party"--NoveList.