The Workings of Language: From Prescriptions to Perspectives

Front Cover
Rebecca S. Wheeler
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999 - Education - 250 pages

The essays in this book help to make sense of the workings of language in our everyday world--on the personal, local, national, and international levels. The authors are all linguists, seeking to help readers free themselves of language prejudices, thus opening the way to better informed views on the function of language in society, a more balanced treatment in schools, and more linguistically-sound public policies.

Defusing Chicken-Little prognostications about English, this volume suggests that dark claims about language are not to be taken at face value. Instead, these claims function as a signal: time to step back. Offering just such a time-out, eminent linguists explore the fuller picture underlying language in our society, examining prescriptivism, Black English, Ozark English, American Sign Language, English-Only, and Endangered Languages.

After helping stomp out such linguistic fires, the linguists showcase the potent workings of language: world englishes, language and politics, media, prejudice, creativity, gender, and humor, thus opening the way to better informed views on the function of language in schools, and more linguistically sound public policies.

 

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Contents

The Language Mavens
3
North American Varieties of English as Byproducts of Population Contacts
15
African American Vernacular English Is Not Standard English with Mistakes
39
Home Speech as Springboard to School Speech Oaklands Commendable Work on Ebonics
59
Southern Mountain English The Language of the Ozarks and Southern Appalachia
67
On the Other Hand American Sign Language Signed Englishes and Other Visual Language Systems
81
Englishes Englishonly and Languages in Danger of Extinction
89
From Out in Left Field? Thats Not Cricket Finding a Focus for the Language Curriculum
91
Language and Politics Prejudice the Media Creativity Humor and Gender
137
Metaphor Morality and Politics Or Why Conservations Have Left Liberals in the Dust
139
Language as a Weapon of Hate
157
Language and the News Media Five Facts about the Fourth Estate
165
Life on Marks Language and the Instruments of Invention
181
Laughing at and Laughing with The Linguistics of Humor and Humor in Literature
201
Women and Men in Conversation
211
Breaking Mythical Bonds African American Womens Language
217

Investigating English around the World The International Corpus of English
107
Speaking of America Why Englishonly Is a Bad Idea
117
Language Loss Our Loss
129
Index
233
About the Editor and Contributors
245
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

REBECCA S. WHEELER teaches writing, grammar, and linguistics in the English Department at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.

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