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Doing Our Own Thing

Doing Our Own Thing Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Doing Our Own Thing, critically acclaimed linguist and cultural critic John McWhorter traces the precipitous decline of language in contemporary America, arguing persuasively that casual, everyday speech has conquered the formal in all arenas, from oratory to poetry to everyday journalism¬—and has even had dire consequences for our musical culture. McWhorter argues that the swift and startling change in written and oral communication emanated from the countercultural revolution of the 1960s and its ideology that established forms and formality were autocratic and artificial. While acknowledging that the evolution of language is in and of itself inevitable and often benign, he warns that the near-total loss of formal expression in America is unprecedented in modern history, and has reached a crisis point in our culture in which our very ability to convey ideas and arguments effectively is gravely threatened.

By turns compelling and harrowing, passionate and judicious, Doing Our Own Thing is required reading for all concerned about the state of our language¬—and the future of intellectual life in America.

Synopsis:

¬ďIllustrated with an entertaining array of examples from both high and low culture, the trend that Mr. McWhorter documents is unmistakable” ¬—The Economist

“Provocative, funny. . . McWhorter suggests that prose ought to be something ¬Ďwe decorate out of a basic sense of exuberance of living.¬” ¬—Andrea Behr, San Francisco Chronicle

“An entertaining and provocative analysis of the way we use language, while also suggesting that we should love it” ¬—Charles Matthews, San Jose Mercury News

“McWhorter is a gifted young linguist who seeks to understand the change in our verbal habits rather than just bemoan it, and his analysis is insightful, richly documented and, yes, eloquently written” ¬—Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and The Language Instinct

About the Author

John McWhorter is an associate professor of linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. His books include Authentically Black, The Power of Babel, and the New York Times bestseller Losing the Race: Self- Sabotage in Black America, and his articles appear regularly in The New Republic and The Wall Street Journal.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781592400843
Publisher:
Gotham
Subject:
General
Author:
McWhorter, John
Subject:
Sociolinguistics
Subject:
African American Studies
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20040909
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
7.98x5.36x.80 in. .55 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Linguistics » English Linguistics and Dialects
History and Social Science » Linguistics » Sociolinguistics
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies

Doing Our Own Thing
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Product details 304 pages Gotham Books - English 9781592400843 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , ¬ďIllustrated with an entertaining array of examples from both high and low culture, the trend that Mr. McWhorter documents is unmistakable” ¬—The Economist

“Provocative, funny. . . McWhorter suggests that prose ought to be something ¬Ďwe decorate out of a basic sense of exuberance of living.¬” ¬—Andrea Behr, San Francisco Chronicle

“An entertaining and provocative analysis of the way we use language, while also suggesting that we should love it” ¬—Charles Matthews, San Jose Mercury News

“McWhorter is a gifted young linguist who seeks to understand the change in our verbal habits rather than just bemoan it, and his analysis is insightful, richly documented and, yes, eloquently written” ¬—Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and The Language Instinct

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