Verbal Hygiene

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 1995 - Foreign Language Study - 264 pages
2 Reviews
In this 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  - Sean - Goodreads

One of my favourite books of all time. I just finished re-reading it. Cameron explores human efforts to manage and alter both our spoken and written language. From the development of style guides, to ... Read full review

Contents

On verbal hygiene
7
the politics of style
33
the great grammar
78
language and political
116
The new Pygmalion verbal hygiene for women
166
On the state of the state of the language
212
Notes
237
Name index
255
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About the author (1995)

Deborah Cameron teaches at Oxford University, where she is Professor of Language and Communication in the English Faculty. Her main research interests are in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and the study of gender and sexuality; her previous publications include "Working with Spoken Discourse" (2001), "On Language and Sexual Politics "(2006) and "Verbal Hygiene" (1995/2012).

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