The world's foremost expert on the English language takes us on an entertaining and eye-opening tour of the history of our vernacular through the ages.
In "The Story of English in 100 Words," an entertaining history of the world's most ubiquitous language, David Crystal draws on one hundred words that best illustrate the huge variety of sources, influences and events that have helped to shape our vernacular since the first definitively English word roe' was written down on the femur of a roe deer in the fifth century. Featuring ancient words ( loaf'), cutting edge terms that relfect our world ( twittersphere'), indispensible words that shape our tongue ( and', what'), fanciful words ( fopdoodle') and even obscene expressions (the "c word..".), David Crystal takes readers on a tour of the winding byways of our language via the rude, the obscure and the downright surprising."
This accessible introduction to the structure of English, general theories in linguistics, and important issues in sociolinguistics, is the first text written specifically for English and Education majors. This engaging introductory language/linguistics textbook provides more extensive coverage of issues of particular interest to English majors and future English instructors. It invites all students to connect academic linguistics to the everyday use of the English language around them. The book's approach taps students' natural curiosity about the English language. Through exercises and discussion questions about ongoing changes in English, How English Works asks students to become active participants in the construction of linguistic knowledge.
Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand spent nearly four years (in cloth and paper) on The New York Times Best Seller list and has sold over a million and a half copies. Clearly, Tannen's insights into how and why women and men so often misunderstand each other when they talk has touched a nerve. For years a highly respected scholar in the field of linguistics, she has now become widely known for her work on how conversational style differences associated with gender affect relationships. Her life work has demonstrated how close and intelligent analysis of conversation can reveal the extraordinary complexities of social relationships--including relationships between men and women.
Now, in Gender and Discourse, Tannen has gathered together six of her scholarly essays, including her newest and previously unpublished work in which language and gender are examined through the lens of "sex-class-linked" patterns, rather than "sex-linked" patterns. These essays provide a theoretical backdrop to her best-selling books--and an informative introduction which discusses her field of linguistics, describes the research methods she typically uses, and addresses the controversies surrounding her field as well as some misunderstandings of her work. (She argues, for instance, that her cultural approach to gender differences does not deny that men dominate women in society, nor does it ascribe gender differences to women's "essential nature.") The essays themselves cover a wide range of topics. In one, she analyzes a number of conversational strategies--such as interruption, topic raising, indirection, and silence--and shows that, contrary to much work on language and gender, no strategy exclusively expresses dominance or submissiveness in conversation--interruption (or overlap) can be supportive, silence and indirection can be used to control. It is the interactional context, the participants' individual styles, and the interaction of their styles, Tannen shows, that result in the balance of power. She also provides a fascinating analysis of four groups of males and females (second-, sixth-, and tenth-grade students, and twenty-five year olds) conversing with their best friends, and she includes an early article co-authored with Robin Lakoff that presents a theory of conversational strategy, illustrated by analysis of dialogue in Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage.
Readers interested in the theoretical framework behind Tannen's work will find this volume fascinating. It will be sure to interest anyone curious about the crucial yet often unnoticed role that language and gender play in our daily lives.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, the White House announced with great fanfare that 100 FBI counterintelligence agents would be reassigned. Their new target: street gangs. Americans--filled with fear of crack-dealing gangs--cheered the decision, as did many big-city police departments. But this highly publicized move could be an experience in futility, suggests Malcolm Klein: for one thing, most street gangs have little to do with the drug trade.
The American Street Gang provides the finest portrait of this subject ever produced--a detailed accounting, through statistics, interviews, and personal experience, of what street gangs are, how they have changed, their involvement in drug sales, and why we have not been able to stop them. Klein has been studying street gangs for more than thirty years, and he brings a sophisticated understanding of the problem to bear in this often surprising book. In contrast to the image of rigid organization and military-style leadership we see in the press, he writes, street gangs are usually loose bodies of associates, with informal and multiple leadership. Street gangs, he makes clear, are quite distinct from drug gangs--though they may share individual members. In a drug-selling operation tight discipline is required--the members are more like employees--whereas street gangs are held together by affiliation and common rivalries, with far less discipline. With statistics and revealing anecdotes, Klein offers a strong critique of the approach of many law enforcement agencies, which have demonized street gangs while ignoring the fact that they are the worst possible bodies for running disciplined criminal operations--let alone colonizing other cities. On the other hand, he shows that street gangs do spur criminal activity, and he demonstrates the shocking rise in gang homicides and the proliferation of gangs across America. Ironically, he writes, the liberal approach to gangs advocated by many (assigning a social worker to a gang, organizing non-violent gang activities) can actually increase group cohesion, which leads to still more criminal activity. And programs to erode that cohesion, Klein tells us from personal experience, can work--but they require intensive, exhausting effort.
Street gangs are a real and growing problem in America--but the media and many law enforcement officials continue to dispense misleading ideas about what they are and what they do. In The American Street Gang, Malcolm Klein challenges these assumptions with startling new evidence that must be understood if we are to come to grips with this perceived crisis.
Anu Garg's many readers await their A Word A Day rations hungrily. Now at last here's a feast for them and other verbivores. Eat up
Senior Editor at The Atlantic Monthly and author of Word Court
-John Simpson, Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary ""A banquet of words Feast and be nourished ""
-Richard Lederer, author of The Miracle of Language Written by the founder of the wildly popular A Word A Day Web site (www.wordsmith.org), this collection of unusual, obscure, and exotic English words will delight writers, scholars, crossword puzzlers, and word buffs of every ilk. The words are grouped in intriguing categories that range from ""Portmanteaux"" to ""Words That Make the Spell-Checker Ineffective."" each entry includes a concise definition, etymology, and usage example-and many feature fascinating and hilarious commentaries by A Word A Day subscribers and the authors.
Noam Chomsky's work has had a decisive influence on the development of linguistics and more broadly on the study of mind and language. This book, which contains two new papers by Chomsky, assesses that 'Chomskyan Turn' in linguistics and the cognitive sciences.
The articles by Chomsky Linguistics and Adjacent Fields and Linguistics and Cognitive Science are particularly valuable both in reviewing the current state of the generative enterprise and in presenting his new 'functional' approach to principles of Universal Grammar.
The concluding papers focus on syntactic issues in Government and Binding.
In this essential new book Louis-Jean Calvet argues that what we call 'languages' are in fact abstractions invented by linguists as a convenient tool to label the subject-matter of their science. Calvet contends that languages are "alive" and therefore can and should only be approached ecologically.