Language News: Book Review – You Are What You Speak – By Robert Lane Greene –

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.  

Book Review – You Are What You Speak – By Robert Lane Greene –

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.


About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.
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One Response to Language News: Book Review – You Are What You Speak – By Robert Lane Greene –

  1. Pingback: Language we use: “You Are What You Speak” | What they don't teach in law school

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