Verbal Hygiene

Front Cover
Routledge, 1995 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 264 pages
5 Reviews

BAAL Book Prize Winner 1996

In this award winning book Deborah Cameron takes a serious look at popular attitudes towards language and examines the practices by which people attempt to regulate its use. Instead of dismissing the practice of 'verbal hygiene', as a misguided and pernicious exercise, however, she argues that popular discourse about language values; good and bad, right and wrong, serves an important function for those engaged in it.
A series of case-studies deal with specific examples of verbal hygiene: the regulation of 'style' by editors, the teaching of English grammar in schools, the movements for and against so-called 'politically-correct' language and the recent explosion of advice to women on how they can speak more effectively. In each case she argues that verbal hygiene provides a way of making sense of linguistic phenomena, and that it represents a symbolic attempt to impose order on the social world.
Addressed to linguistics, professional language-users of all kinds, and to anyone interested in language and culture, Verbal Hygiene, calls for legitimate concerns about language and value to be discussed, by experts and lay-speakers alike, in a rational and critical spirit.

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Review: Verbal Hygiene

User Review  - Angela Brooks - Goodreads

I needed to read this for a college class. It is hard to read unless you are use to academic writing. It also wasn't what I thought it was. I thought it would have more of a pop culture aspect to it. Read full review

Review: Verbal Hygiene

User Review  - Goodreads

I needed to read this for a college class. It is hard to read unless you are use to academic writing. It also wasn't what I thought it was. I thought it would have more of a pop culture aspect to it. Read full review

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