This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About…

Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca

by John McWhorter

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
558304,772 (3.96)5



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
John McWhorter argues that "Black English" is a subsidiary language with its own grammar and history, like Haitian Creole or Sicilian. Rather then a chaotic mass of mistakes made by the uneducated, it's highly structured with consistent usage and rules. As a college writing teacher, this was a good reminder that some of my students, even if they were born in this country, could be speaking and writing an unfamiliar dialect in my class. As a general reader, however, this was a bit frustrating. McWhorter constantly refers to studies that support his claims but never describes them in detail or cites them in notes. In fact there are no notes. If we want to know more we're on our own. So McWhorter never gets into his topic in any real depth, he just skims on the surface, repeats himself, mentions studies he doesn't cite multiple times. This is a 5 star idea with 3 star execution. ( )
  susanbooks | Jul 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was really interesting! I have a background in anthropology, though, including anthropological linguistics, so I'm not sure how someone without that would fare. I also wish he'd devoted a little more time talking about the culture-language interaction, but he's not a linguistic anthropologist so I'm not being fair. McWhorter also includes some discussion on making Black English more acceptable to the wider (and yes, mostly white) culture, which I really appreciated. This same section is also helpful for other dialects; I've successfully defended myself when I slipped into southern dialects more than once now by pointing out the linguistic usefulness.

I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.
  Watry | Jun 21, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
John McWhorter packs a big punch in this slim volume of essays about Black English. The books convincingly explains how Black English is a dialect deserving of respect, not "slang" or "bad grammar." The strongest part of the book is how he crafts his arguments to make them more politically compelling and, hopefully, better convince the public of the value of Black English. ( )
  zhejw | Jan 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Another fantastic foray into linguistics by John McWhorter! His style is amusing yet very informative and easy to understand.
  amyblue | Jan 7, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

I'm very interested in linguistics, so I was quite excited to get started on this book. And it didn't disappoint me at all. It offered a lot of insight into what he often calls Black English. I have always marveled at the flexibility of language and how it evolves and changes. Simultaneously, I've been frustrated by the people around me who seem to view these changes strictly as bastardizations of the language. Every language has these variances, dialects, etc, yet in American many people seem to discount them. This book helps to explain.

So why three stars? First, I felt that many times the author was speaking to readers in a condescending manner. As someone who already understands these concepts on a base level, I felt like he addressed us as a group of readers who could never understand fully what he was trying to say. This seemed unfair. I also feel that it might not have been highly accessible to readers who don't already have a grasp on linguistics to begin with. Those two things aside, I thought it was decent. Short enough that I didn't feel a need to quit early which can be a threat with specialized topics like this. ( )
  sweyenberg | Jan 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"In his first book devoted solely to the form, structure, and development of Black English, John McWhorter clearly explains its fundamentals and rich history, while carefully examining the cultural, educational, and political issues that have undermined recognition of this transformative, empowering dialect."--Page 4 of cover.… (more)

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

John McWhorter's book Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America’s Lingua Franca was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Sign up to get a pre-publication copy in exchange for a review.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.96)
3 2
3.5 2
4 6
4.5 1
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 129,633,956 books! | Top bar: Always visible