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Language Myths (1998)

by Laurie Bauer (Editor), Peter Trudgill (Editor)

Other authors: Jean Aitchison (Contributor), John Algeo (Contributor), Lars-Gunnar Andersson (Contributor), Winifred Bauer (Contributor), Edward Carney (Contributor)16 more, J.K. Chambers (Contributor), Jenny Cheshire (Contributor), John H. Esling (Contributor), Nicholas Evans (Contributor), Howard Giles (Contributor), Ray Harlow (Contributor), Janet Holmes (Contributor), Anthony Lodge (Contributor), James Milroy (Contributor), Lesley Milroy (Contributor), Michael Montgomery (Contributor), Nancy Niedzielski (Contributor), Dennis R. Preston (Contributor), Peter Roach (Contributor), G.B. Trudeau (Illustrator), Walt Wolfram (Contributor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
482938,145 (3.4)2
Language is a part of us all and is tightly woven into human experience. Yet, although research into language has increased at a phenomenal rate over the last fifty years, misconceptions abound. This illuminating and highly readable collection of essays explores some of the myths, for example- standards of children's speech and writing have declined; women talk too much; the 'purity' of the English language is under threat; some languages are more attractive to the ear or are harder to learn than others; and, the media has a detrimental effect on language. Written by a team of leading linguists, Language Mythscontains many valuable insights. The contributors are- Jean Aitchison; John Algeo; Lars-Gunnar Andersson; Laurie Bauer; Winifred Bauer; Edward Carney; J.K. Chambers; Jenny Cheshire; John H. Esling; Nicholas Evans; Howard Giles and Nancy Niedzielski; Ray Harlow; Janet Holmes; Anthony Lodge; James Milroy; Lesley Milroy; Michael Montgomery; Dennis R. Preston; Peter Roach; Peter Trudgill and Walt Wolfram.… (more)
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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Such a treat: 21 short essays addressing common linguistic misunderstandings, misapprehensions and misbeliefs. Everything you thought you knew about languages (yours and others) is wrong and now we know why. And so entertainingly presented! This book costs so little and is so filled with useful information in so few pages that there's no excuse for not learning what you shouldn't believe about words, and why. ( )
  majackson | Jun 13, 2019 |
Mildly informative and mildly entertaining book about some widely held language myths. Overall it takes aim at the premise that there are permanent rules for a language (the prescriptive approach) but this isn't exactly new news. Language mavens, however, will enjoy it. ( )
  annbury | Sep 2, 2010 |
A great little book doing away with misconceptions most people have about language. Since it's a collection of essays, there is variation in style and quality, but overall it's very good. The book could have done with tighter editing, however. ( )
  klai | Jul 3, 2010 |
This book has a good heart, and a few really solid essays--Dennis Preston (funny guy, incidentally) on prestige ranking of American accents and JK Chambers on TV's non-effect on language change (the reason I bought it originally, and while a little offended that a certain nameless someone referred me to the shibboleths book to prove the point, I am also convinced). Some of the others are definitely kindergarten, and I don't mean for language scholars, but surely even the gen-pub doesn't needto be told that some languages aren't intrinsically "harder" or "more expressive" or "faster" or "more primitive" than others, and that language change isn't language decline? Then I think about how quickly I can come up with five people who have said just the opposite on one of these matters in the last six weeks, and how stubborn they were, and I'm like "oh yeah." So there is definitely a place for this book, even if I suspect most of the prescriptivists and cavilers will require more convincing than it provides. And it's a quick read. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Jun 13, 2009 |
Each chapter is an essay which examines a common language myth. (E.g.: Appalachian English is Shakespeare's English, some languages are more logical than others, words shouldn't change meaning, etc.) An excellent resource for anyone who wants to get rid of their own language misconceptions or learn to defend against the miconceptions of others. ( )
1 vote Katya0133 | Mar 20, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bauer, LaurieEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trudgill, PeterEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aitchison, JeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Algeo, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersson, Lars-GunnarContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauer, WinifredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carney, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chambers, J.K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheshire, JennyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Esling, John H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evans, NicholasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Giles, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harlow, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holmes, JanetContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lodge, AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milroy, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Milroy, LesleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Niedzielski, NancyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Preston, Dennis R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Roach, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trudeau, G.B.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolfram, WaltContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Introduction
Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill
The main reason for presenting this book is that we believe that, on the whole, linguists have not been good about informing the general public about language.
Myth 1
The Meanings of Words Should Not be Allowed to Vary or Change
Peter Trudgill
All languages change all the time. It is not very well understood why this is the case, but it is a universal characteristic of human languages.
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Language is a part of us all and is tightly woven into human experience. Yet, although research into language has increased at a phenomenal rate over the last fifty years, misconceptions abound. This illuminating and highly readable collection of essays explores some of the myths, for example- standards of children's speech and writing have declined; women talk too much; the 'purity' of the English language is under threat; some languages are more attractive to the ear or are harder to learn than others; and, the media has a detrimental effect on language. Written by a team of leading linguists, Language Mythscontains many valuable insights. The contributors are- Jean Aitchison; John Algeo; Lars-Gunnar Andersson; Laurie Bauer; Winifred Bauer; Edward Carney; J.K. Chambers; Jenny Cheshire; John H. Esling; Nicholas Evans; Howard Giles and Nancy Niedzielski; Ray Harlow; Janet Holmes; Anthony Lodge; James Milroy; Lesley Milroy; Michael Montgomery; Dennis R. Preston; Peter Roach; Peter Trudgill and Walt Wolfram.

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