By Robert Lane Greene
"An insightful, obtainable exam of ways within which day by day speech is tangled in a sophisticated net of background, politics, race, economics and power." - Kirkus
What is it approximately different people’s language that strikes a few of us to anxiousness or maybe rage? for hundreds of years, sticklers internationally have donned the cloak of authority to regulate the best way humans use phrases. Now this sensational new e-book moves again to protect the interesting, real-life range of this most elementary human faculty.
With the erudite but obtainable type that marks his paintings as a journalist, Robert Lane Greene takes readers on a rollicking travel world wide, illustrating with vibrant anecdotes the position language ideals play in shaping our identities, for reliable and ailing. starting with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the note “shibboleth,” Greene indicates how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from construction cohesive groups to development smooth international locations. From the suggestion of 1 language’s superiority to the typical belief that words like “It’s me” are “bad English,” linguistic ideals too usually outline “us” and distance “them,” assisting classification, ethnic, or nationwide prejudices. briefly: What we listen approximately language is usually fairly in regards to the politics of identity.
Governments foolishly try and police language improvement (the French Academy), nationalism results in the violent suppression of minority languages (Kurdish and Basque), or even american citizens worry that the main profitable language in global historical past (English) can be threatened by way of elevated immigration. those fake language ideals are frequently tied to destructive political ends and will bring about the violation of simple human rights. Conversely, political involvement in language can occasionally turn out helpful, as with the Zionist revival of Hebrew or our present-day efforts to supply schooling in overseas languages necessary to enterprise, international relations, and intelligence. And convinced, standardized languages play a very important function in uniting smooth societies.
As this attention-grabbing publication exhibits, every little thing we’ve been taught to consider language will not be wrong—but it is usually approximately anything greater than language on my own. You Are What You communicate will definitely get humans conversing.