Is Ebonics really a dialect or simply bad English? Do women and men speak differently? Will computers ever really learn human language? Does offensive language harm children? These are only a few of the issues surrounding language that crop up every day. Most of us have very definite opinions on these questions one way or another. Yet as linguist Donna Jo Napoli points out in this short and highly entertaining volume, many of our most deeply held ideas about the nature of language and its role in our lives are either misconceived or influenced by myths and stereotypes
Napoli provides an entertaining tour through the world of language, examining these and other vexing and controversial language-related questions. Throughout, she encourages and leads the reader to use common-sense and everyday experience rather than preconceived notions or technical linguistic expertise. Both her questions and her conclusions are surprising, sometimes provocative, and always entertaining. This volume is sure to engage both general readers and students of language and linguistics at any level.
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
March 26, 2003
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