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Do You Speak American? (2005)

av Robert MacNeil, William Cran

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
243580,563 (3.26)1 / 15
"Is American English in decline? Are regional dialects dying out? Is there a difference in how men and women adapt to linguistic variations?" "These questions, and more, about our language catapulted Robert MacNeil and William Cran - the authors (with Robert McCrum) of the language classic The Story of English - across the country in search of the answers. Do You Speak American? Is the tale of their discoveries, which show how the standard for American English - if a standard exists - is changing quickly and dramatically."--BOOK JACKET.… (mer)

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Visar 5 av 5
I am not a linguist, but I was raised by one. As a result of hearing different languages and different language dialects throughout my life, I have a love of listening to the various dialects of America (and other countries), which is why I picked up this book. I loved the way it was written, both with an educational tone and with a certain humor.

Being the average, curious American had an advantage when reading through the pages, since the topics covered were widespread. They would have to be, since the book is meant to be a companion to the PBS show and is not very long. I would imagine that serious linguists who are looking for a very deep look into American dialects in general or for something on specific American dialects probably won't find new information here, while those wanting to casually dip into the subject will find themselves happily reading to the end.

I will happily hold out this book to anyone who is curious about American English because I think that a better understanding of language and dialect help us better understand the cultures we aren't always exposed to and bring us to a deeper understanding of those around us. Maybe some day there will be a time when a well educated man won't have to lose his southern accent to be accepted as one of the top in his field. Until then, we can pass around the knowledge within these pages and help people understand the links between dialect and our automatic responses to language itself. ( )
  mirrani | Aug 10, 2014 |
A survey of the way English is spoken around the United States, and of the issues raised by the differences in speech between various regions and various social groups. The book focusses much less on specific differences than on broader issues -- the Hispanic influence, Black English, prescriptive vs. evolutionary views of language -- and is well worth reading. ( )
  annbury | Sep 5, 2010 |
An easy read, but not a particularly enlightening one. I've taken just enough linguistics (in college) and read just enough pop linguistics that this book didn't have much new to say to me. Yeah, there are prescriptivists and descriptivists. Yeah, people in Brooklyn sound different than people in California.

There were a few moments of interest, but nothing striking enough that I remember even a stray particular fact. When the authors delve into modern discussion of slang (especially teenage), they manage to sound like hopeless squares, despite their gormless, eager efforts to sound liberal-minded and in the know. ( )
4 rösta lyzadanger | Jun 27, 2007 |
Very interesting book for language lovers based on the PBS series done by the authors, who also wrote "The Story of English." ( )
  sunnydale | Oct 3, 2006 |
Visar 5 av 5
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Robert MacNeilprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Cran, Williamhuvudförfattarealla utgåvorbekräftat

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Introduction
Our language is constantly changing. Like the Mississippi, it keeps forging new channels and abandoning old ones, picking up debris, depositing unwanted silt, and frequently bursting its banks. In every generation there are people who deplore changes in the language and many who wish to stop its flow. But if our language stopped changing it would mean that American society had ceased to be dynamic, innovative, pulsing with life—that the great river had frozen up. It would be like Latin, a "dead" language that does not change because it lives only in books and few living people speak it. America unceasingly reinvents itself, and it must create language to express that reinvention—in our social mores, in science and technology, in religion, in politcs, in the arts—and also to reflect our power and influence in the world.
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The Language WarsWhat grammarians say should be has perhaps less influence on what shall be than even the more modest of them realize; usage evolves itself little disturbed by their likes and dislikes.
          —H. W. Fowler, Modern English Usuage
For centuries there has been a struggle between those who want our language to obey strict rules and those willing to be guided by how people actually speak and write. The first, who want to prescribe, are known as prescriptivists, while those content to describe usage are called descriptivists. The war between the two camps has blazed up with particular belligerence in our times, as language issues engaged social conservatives and liberals and became a factor in the so-called culture wars. Away from that intellectual battleground, ordinary Americans can be either gloriously relaxed about their language or, to use the popular idiom, decidedly uptight.
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"Is American English in decline? Are regional dialects dying out? Is there a difference in how men and women adapt to linguistic variations?" "These questions, and more, about our language catapulted Robert MacNeil and William Cran - the authors (with Robert McCrum) of the language classic The Story of English - across the country in search of the answers. Do You Speak American? Is the tale of their discoveries, which show how the standard for American English - if a standard exists - is changing quickly and dramatically."--BOOK JACKET.

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