Is today's language at an all-time low? Are pronunciations like cawfee and chawklit bad English? Is slang like my bad or hook up improper? Is it incorrect to mix English and Spanish, as in Yo quiero Taco Bell? Can you write Who do you trust? rather than Whom do you trust? Linguist Edwin Battistella takes a hard look at traditional notions of bad language, arguing that they are often based in sterile conventionality.
Examining grammar and style, cursing, slang, and political correctness, regional and ethnic dialects, and foreign accents and language mixing, Battistella discusses the strong feelings evoked by language variation, from objections to the pronunciation NU-cu-lar to complaints about bilingual education. He explains the natural desire for uniformity in writing and speaking and traces the association of mainstream norms to ideas about refinement, intelligence, education, character, national unity and political values. Battistella argues that none of these qualities is inherently connected to language.
It is tempting but wrong, Battistella argues, to think of slang, dialects and nonstandard grammar as simply breaking the rules of good English. Instead, we should view language as made up of alternative forms of orderliness adopted by speakers depending on their purpose. Thus we can study the structure and context of nonstandard language in order to illuminate and enrich traditional forms of language, and make policy decisions based on an informed engagement.
Re-examining longstanding and heated debates, Bad Language will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers engaged and interested in the debate over what constitutes proper language.
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Edwin Battistella is the Dean of Arts and Letters and Professor of English at Southern Oregon University.Review:
"Battistella has indeed identified issues central both to our society at large and to the American educational system. He shows us that all too often, what citizens and teachers believe about language, grammar, and so-called proper English reflects folk-beliefs from deep in centuries past. These common myths about the nature of language carry vast ripple effects in how we treat people and educate our young. In user-friendly and lively terms, linguist Ed Battistella explores bad language--a topic both timely and crucial to our nation."--Rebecca S. Wheeler, Department of English, Christopher Newport University
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Book Description Oxford Univ Pr, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 256 pages. 8.00x5.50x0.75 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk019533745X
Book Description Oxford University Press, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M019533745X
Book Description Oxford University Press, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11019533745X
Book Description Oxford University Press. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 019533745X New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1808647