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ERIC Number: ED442283
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 83
Abstractor: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-0-325-00198-7
Spreading the Word: Language and Dialect in America.
McWhorter, John
This short book argues that the idea that there is one best English--or standard English--is wrong, and that nonstandard dialects are not bastardizations of standard English but alternate variations upon the basic plan of English, of which the standard one. With a general focus on classroom applications, this book makes accessible to teachers, teacher educators, and administrators basic language principles that are commonly accepted by linguists but rarely disseminated in an accessible form to general audiences. Using data from several different languages, it is argued that speech differences heard in America are qualitatively equivalent heard in other parts of the world where the same differences are not considered "bad" language. The thesis of the book is linked not only to"prescriptive grammar" but to more immediate issues facing classroom teachers such as Black English and code switching between Spanish and English. One of four chapters is dedicated to showing how mixture between languages is a worldwide and natural phenomenon, rather than a "language ravaging accident." Chapter titles include the following: "I Hear So Much Bad Grammar These Days"; "It's Just Slang, Isn't It?"; "They Just Mix Them Up!"; and "The Linguistic Rainforest." Extensive references are provided as well as an index. (Author/KFT)
Heinemann, 361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912 ($12.50). Tel: 603-431-7894; Fax: 603-431-7840; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Collected Works - General
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A