This is a unique collection of original essays by 21 of the world's leading linguists. The topics discussed focus on some of the most popular myths about language: the media are ruining English; children can't speak or write properly anymore; and, America is ruining the English language. The tone is lively and entertaining throughout and there are cartoons from Doonesbury and The Wizard of Id to illustrate some of the points. The book should have a wide readership not only amongst students who want to read leading linguists writing about popular misconceptions but also amongst the large number of people who enjoy reading about language in general.
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; the media has a detrimental effect on language. These widely held views are questioned and shown to be based on inadequate or false information, or simply, not to be true. Other essays explore spelling problems, attitudes towards accents, controversies over changes in language, and the belief that some languages have no grammar.
Written by a team of leading linguists, Language Myths contains many valuable insights and provides a fascinating introduction into the way language works. 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 -- Walt Wolfram