By Robert Lane Greene
"An insightful, available exam of ways during which daily speech is tangled in a classy internet of historical past, politics, race, economics and power." - Kirkus
What is it approximately different people’s language that strikes a few of us to anxiousness or perhaps rage? for hundreds of years, sticklers across the world have donned the cloak of authority to regulate the way in which humans use phrases. Now this sensational new booklet moves again to protect the attention-grabbing, real-life variety of this most simple human faculty.
With the erudite but available variety that marks his paintings as a journalist, Robert Lane Greene takes readers on a rollicking journey world wide, illustrating with vibrant anecdotes the position language ideals play in shaping our identities, for stable and unwell. starting with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the observe “shibboleth,” Greene indicates how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from development cohesive groups to development smooth countries. From the inspiration of 1 language’s superiority to the typical notion that words like “It’s me” are “bad English,” linguistic ideals too frequently outline “us” and distance “them,” assisting classification, ethnic, or nationwide prejudices. in brief: What we listen approximately language is usually particularly concerning the politics of identity.
Governments foolishly attempt to police language improvement (the French Academy), nationalism results in the violent suppression of minority languages (Kurdish and Basque), or even americans worry that the main profitable language in global background (English) can be threatened through elevated immigration. those fake language ideals are frequently tied to damaging political ends and will result in the violation of simple human rights. Conversely, political involvement in language can occasionally end up necessary, as with the Zionist revival of Hebrew or our present-day efforts to supply schooling in overseas languages necessary to company, international relations, and intelligence. And certain, standardized languages play an important function in uniting smooth societies.
As this interesting e-book exhibits, every thing we’ve been taught to contemplate language is probably not wrong—but it's always approximately whatever greater than language by myself. You Are What You communicate will definitely get humans speaking.
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Extra resources for You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity
Curtis installed and repaired fire sprinklers in Phoenix; Concita worked as a pharmacy technician. Their combined income averaged $60,000 a year. Before the Great Recession, they had never been jobless. They lost their home after exhausting their available cash and the money in Curtis’ medical savings account. Their oldest child was in college, and they were able to send their next oldest to live with his aunt. With Canaan, they drove to California to stay with relatives. When they arrived, however, they found that another family, also recently homeless, had already moved in.
To stay afloat, Ramos borrowed from friends and relatives, which weighed on her, her friend Shearer says. ” Ramos would get occasional calls from Petersen, her mortgage broker. “He was like my best friend,” she recalls. ’ ” He knew about the car accident and that she was struggling, she says.
Around the same time, her father had begun suffering from Alzheimer’s, so her parents moved in. A friend, Elaine Shearer, remembers seeing Ramos working with concrete behind the house with a baby carrier on her back. Occasionally, when Ramos had to deliver her product at night, the children would join her, sleeping in car seats. Still, the job allowed her to set her own hours and stay close to home. In 2004, her business took a major hit when another company underbid her and won the contract that had been her principal source of income for six years.
You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity by Robert Lane Greene