Dr. Geoffrey Nunberg reviews Robert Lane Greene’s You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity, a new book about the mythologies people have about language.
Greene, a correspondent for the Economist, has been making the rounds with his book, which I hope will encourage more people to think more critically about their language judgments and pet peeves. Unfortunately, this is still an uphill battle. Last week he appeared on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, and a quick read through the listeners’ comments suggests that many of them missed the boat.
Those who are interested in other sources that address Greene’s topics should read the comment from “fmailhot,” who suggests that you read Mark Liberman’s The Language Log or Laurie Bauer & Peter Trudgill’s Language Myths. The Language Long is listed on the LingEducator’s LinguaBlogRoll, along with several other important blogs about language, including the new site Popular Linguistics.