ERIC Number: ED127814
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-May
Reference Count: 0
Misrepresentation of Linguistics in the Media.
Riley, William K.
Public interest in language is strong, as evidenced by recent articles on spoken and written forms of contemporary English in major news magazines. The December 8, 1975 issue of "Newsweek" contains several allegations, notably by Mario Pei, castigating linguists for causing the decline in writing ability in the United States. In this paper an attempt is made to refute each of Mario Pei's accusations, citing the published work of various structural and other linguists. It is suggested that the fault for his and the public's misunderstanding of what linguists actually believe about language is partly on both sides. The well-known CCCC paper referred to in the "Newsweek" article offers evidence that poorly understood linguistic information results in well-intentioned but misdirected policy shifts among educators. Linguists have a responsibility to make the results of their research available to society in terms which are accurate and clearly understandable. Their failure to do so has resulted in their being blamed for events not under their control. It is noted that there are some possible real causes for the writing problem mentioned in the "Newsweek" article, and the contributions linguists might make to the effort to find a solution are discussed. (Author/CHK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Perspectives on Language Conference (University of Louisville, Kentucky, May 6-8, 1976)