The Power Of Babel

Author : John McWhorter
ISBN : 9781446472408
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 76.92 MB
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There can be few subjects of such widespread interest and fascination to anyone who reads as the strange ways of languages. In this wonderfully entertaining and fascinating book, John McWhorter introduces us to 'the natural history of language': from Russonorsk, a creole of Russian and Norwegian once spoken by trading fur trappers to an Australian Aboriginal language which only has three verbs. Witty, brilliant and authoritative, this book is a must for anyone who is interested in language, as sheerly enjoyable as non-fiction gets.
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

What Language Is

Author : John McWhorter
ISBN : 9781101644454
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 45.28 MB
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New York Times bestselling author and renowned linguist, John McWhorter, explores the complicated and fascinating world of languages. From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin - What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar. An eye-opening tour for all language lovers, What Language Is offers a fascinating new perspective on the way humans communicate. From vanishing languages spoken by a few hundred people to major tongues like Chinese, with copious revelations about the hodgepodge nature of English, John McWhorter shows readers how to see and hear languages as a linguist does. Packed with Big Ideas about language alongside wonderful trivia, What Language Is explains how languages across the globe (the Queen's English and Surinam creoles alike) originate, evolve, multiply, and divide. Raising provocative questions about what qualifies as a language (so-called slang does have structured grammar), McWhorter also takes readers on a marvelous journey through time and place-from Persian to the languages of Sri Lanka- to deliver a feast of facts about the wonders of human linguistic expression.
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Doing Our Own Thing

Author : John McWhorter
ISBN : 9781446473221
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 73.92 MB
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Once languages become written, they change. Only in writing does language develop the artfulness and richness that we associate with a Shakespeare, a Proust or a Whitman. Yet over the last forty years, the English-language has effectively gone into reverse - taking our lead from America and the legacy of the 1960s, our culture increasingly privileges the oral over the written, spurning the art of elaborated, 'written'-style language in favour of returning to the state of a spoken culture. Parallel developments have occurred in music. In this controversial and thought-provoking book, John McWhorter argues that the 1960's rejection of cultural traits associated with the Establishment, as well as a democratic celebration of what anyone can do over what requires training or talent, has led to our culture being increasingly impoverished, both intellectually and artistically...
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

Author : John McWhorter
ISBN : 1440634041
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 62.36 MB
Format : PDF
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A survey of the quirks and quandaries of the English language, focusing on our strange and wonderful grammar Why do we say “I am reading a catalog” instead of “I read a catalog”? Why do we say “do” at all? Is the way we speak a reflection of our cultural values? Delving into these provocative topics and more, Our Magnificent Bastard Language distills hundreds of years of fascinating lore into one lively history. Covering such turning points as the little-known Celtic and Welsh influences on English, the impact of the Viking raids and the Norman Conquest, and the Germanic invasions that started it all during the fifth century ad, John McWhorter narrates this colorful evolution with vigor. Drawing on revolutionary genetic and linguistic research as well as a cache of remarkable trivia about the origins of English words and syntax patterns, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue ultimately demonstrates the arbitrary, maddening nature of English— and its ironic simplicity due to its role as a streamlined lingua franca during the early formation of Britain. This is the book that language aficionados worldwide have been waiting for (and no, it’s not a sin to end a sentence with a preposition).
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Defining Creole

Author : John H. McWhorter
ISBN : 0195347234
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 85.4 MB
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A conventional wisdom among creolists is that creole is a sociohistorical term only: that creole languages share a particular history entailing adults rapidly acquiring a language usually under conditions of subordination, but that structurally they are indistinguishable from other languages. The articles by John H. McWhorter collected in this volume demonstrate that this is in fact untrue. Creole languages, while complex and nuanced as all human languages are, are delineable from older languages as the result of their having come into existence only a few centuries ago. Then adults learn a language under untutored conditions, they abbreviate its structure, focusing upon features vital to communication and shaving away most of the features useless to communication that bedevil those acquiring the language non-natively. When they utilize their rendition of the language consistently enough to create a brand-new one, this new creation naturally evinces evidence of its youth: specifically, a much lower degree of the random accretions typical in older languages, which only develop over vast periods of time. The articles constitute a case for this thesis based on both broad, cross-creole ranges of data and focused expositions referring to single creole languages. The book presents a general case for a theory of language contact and creolization in which not only transfer from source languages but also structural reduction plays a central role, based on facts whose marginality of address in creole studies has arisen from issues sociopolitical as well as scientific. For several decades the very definition of the term creole has been elusive even among creole specialists. This book attempts to forge a path beyond the inter- and intra-disciplinary misunderstandings and stalemates that have resulted from this, and to demonstrate the place that creoles might occupy in other linguistic subfields, including typology, language contact, and syntactic theory.
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

The Language Hoax

Author : John H. McWhorter
ISBN : 9780199361588
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 71.57 MB
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Challenges the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which claims that the language people speak shapes the way they perceive the world, arguing against the use of language as a lens through which to better understand human nature.
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Authentically Black

Author : John McWhorter
ISBN : 1101216581
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 89.95 MB
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The critically acclaimed book from the bestselling author of Losing the Race and The Power of Babel John McWhorter is one of the most original and provocative thinkers on the issue of race in America today. In Authentically Black McWhorter argues that although African-Americans stress hard work and initiative in private, they have assumed the mantle of victimhood in the eyes of the public and have thereby created a distorted meaning of what it is to be "authentically black." McWhorter takes on this mentality and its debilitating implications—in topics ranging from rap music to the reparations movement, to the portrayal of African-Americans on television to racial profiling— injecting new ideas and a fresh approach into the nationwide debate on race. Authentically Black is a powerful and important book that will inform and influence the opinions of Americans across all racial and political spectra.
Category: Social Science

All About The Beat

Author : John McWhorter
ISBN : 144062965X
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 84.5 MB
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The bestselling commentator, hailed for his frank and fearless arguments on race, imparts a scathing look at the hypocrisy of hip-hop—and why its popularity proves that black America must overhaul its politics. One of the most outspoken voices in America’s cultural dialogues, John McWhorter can always be counted on to provide provocative viewpoints steeped in scholarly savvy. Now he turns his formidable intellect to the topic of hip-hop music and culture, smashing the claims that hip-hop is politically valuable because it delivers the only “real” portrayal of black society. In this measured, impassioned work, McWhorter delves into the rhythms of hip-hop, analyzing its content and celebrating its artistry and craftsmanship. But at the same time he points out that hip-hop is, at its core, simply music, and takes issue with those who celebrate hip-hop as the beginning of a new civil rights program and inflate the lyrics with a kind of radical chic. In a power vacuum, this often offensive and destructive music has become a leading voice of black America, and McWhorter stridently calls for a renewed sense of purpose and pride in black communities. Joining the ranks of Russell Simmons and others who have called for a deeper investigation of hip-hop’s role in black culture, McWhorter’s All About the Beat is a spectacular polemic that takes the debate in a seismically new direction.
Category: Social Science

Babel S Tower Translated

Author : Phillip Michael Sherman
ISBN : 9789004248618
Genre : Religion
File Size : 66.57 MB
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Ancient Jewish Interpreters read and rewrote the biblical narrative of the Tower of Babel to address various challenges to the identity of 'Israel' in the Second Temple and early rabbinic periods.
Category: Religion