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.
Who other than MIT scientist Steven Pinker could explore a single linguistic phenomenon - the use of irregular verbs - from the vantage points of psychology, biology, history, philosophy, linguistics, and child development?In Words and Rules, Pinker answers questions about the miraculous human ability called language and does it in the gripping, witty style of his other bestsellers. As the stories unfold, the reader is immersed in the evolution of the English language over the centuries, the theories of Noam Chomsky and his critics, the simulation of neural networks on computers, the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak, the tragic loss of language from neurological disease, and more illustrations using humorous wordplay than anyone would have thought possible. Pinker makes sense of all these phenomena with the help of a single powerful idea: that the essence of language is a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules.Pinker is well known for his skills of explaining the art and science of language. His bestselling book How the Mind Works was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and was the #1 bestselling book for amazon.com in 1997. His other bestseller The Language Instinct was named one of the Ten Best Books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review and nominated for the William James Book Award by the American Psychological Association.
Building a bridge between "innatists" and "social interactionists," a researcher contends that the capacity for language is wired into our brains by evolution and examines the relationship between words and thoughts, the proliferation of language, and the "language mavens."
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.
In If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents Rabassa offers a cool-headed and humorous defense of translation, laying out his views on the art of the craft. Anecdotal, and always illuminating, If This Be Treason traces Rabassa's career, from his boyhood on a New Hampshire farm, his school days collecting languages, the two-and-a-half years he spent overseas during WWII, his travels, until one day I signed a contract to do my first translation of a long work for a commercial publisher. Rabassa concludes with his rap sheet, a consideration of the various authors and the over 40 works he has translated. This long-awaited memoir is a joy to read, an instrumental guide to translating, and a look at the life of one of its great practitioners.
This is a classic book on a fascinating subject. Peter Trudgill examines the close link between language and society and the many factors that influence the way we speak. These range from gender, environment, age, race, class, region and politics. Trudgill's book surveys languages and societies from all over the world drawing on examples from Afrikaans to Yiddish. He has added a fascinating chapter on the development of a language as a result of a non-native speaker's use of it. Compelling and authoritative, this new edition of a bestselling book is set to redraw the boundaries of the study of sociolinguistics.
Why is there such a striking difference between English spelling and English pronunciation? How did our seemingly relatively simple grammar rules develop? What are the origins of regional dialect, literary language, and everyday speech, and what do they have to do with you?Seth Lerer's Inventing English is a masterful, engaging history of the English language from the age of Beowulf to the rap of Eminem. Many have written about the evolution of our grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, but only Lerer situates these developments in the larger history of English, America, and literature. Lerer begins in the seventh century with the poet Caedmon learning to sing what would become the earliest poem in English. He then looks at the medieval scribes and poets who gave shape to Middle English. He finds the traces of the Great Vowel Shift in the spelling choices of letter writers of the fifteenth century and explores the achievements of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of 1755 and The Oxford English Dictionary of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He describes the differences between English and American usage and, through the example of Mark Twain, the link between regional dialect and race, class, and gender. Finally, he muses on the ways in which contact with foreign languages, popular culture, advertising, the Internet, and e-mail continue to shape English for future generations. Each concise chapter illuminates a moment of invention-a time when people discovered a new form of expression or changed the way they spoke or wrote. In conclusion, Lerer wonders whether globalization and technology have turned English into a world language and reflects on what has been preserved and what has been lost. A unique blend of historical and personal narrative, Inventing English is the surprising tale of a language that is as dynamic as the people to whom it belongs.
The number of times we swear is huge. Most often it occurs naturally and you would have to force yourself not to swear. We don't think twice about shouting the word 'FUCK' if we hurt ourselves or miss the bus in the morning. It just happens automatically and that's where it gets interesting. Is swearing an instinct?
When and why did it become such a bad thing?
WHAT IS THE FUCKING HISTORY OF SWEARING
Where does the hidden power of these words come from?
Why does it make you feel so great sometimes?
Could we use the power of swearing wisely as a tool in our daily life and make life easier?
All the answers to these questions and more you will find in this swearing atlas...
Lean back, relax and start swearing.
In The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker, director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT, weaves his vast knowledge of language into a compelling theory: that language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution like web spinning in spiders or sonar in bats.Along the way, The Language Instinct lucidly explains the important issues your students need to know about language: how it works, how it evolved, how children learn it, how the brain computes it, and how it changes. "A brilliant, witty, and altogether satisfying book."--New York Times Book Review