Verbal Hygiene

Front Cover
Taylor & Francis, May 25, 1995 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 280 pages
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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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About the author (1995)

Deborah Cameron teaches at Oxford University, where she is Professor of Language and Communication. 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) and "Working with Written Discourse "(with Ivan Panovic, 2014), "Good to Talk? "(2000), "The Myth of Mars and Venus "(2007), and "Verbal Hygiene" (1995/2012).

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