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Reflections on Language

Edited by Stuart Hirschberg, Stuart Hirschberg, Terry Hirschberg, and Terry Hirschberg

Publication Date - 14 January 1999

ISBN: 9780195120448

672 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock


Reflections on Language brings together a collection of seventy-eight articles that examine language from many different perspectives. Its selections focus on language as a social form, demonstrating how it is an indispensable component of the world and how we interpret it. Organized thematically, the text addresses many topics, including the acquisition of language, the rhetoric of advertising, the language of politics, language between the sexes, and language across cultures. It also discusses areas not covered by similar books, such as the bodily basis of language, communication across species, and the language of cyberspace.
Ideal for courses in freshman composition, introduction to language, and a variety of writing classes, Reflections on Language helps students and other readers to become more aware of language and to use it more effectively. The text offers useful aids for writing instruction, including an opening chapter on writing and revising, a rhetorical table of contents, and a glossary, as well as introductory notes, journal writing prompts, and analytical exercises for each selection. Reflections on Language also includes an index as well as thirteen advertisements, eighteen cartoons, and numerous end-of-chapter writing assignments. This unique reader incorporates a substantial number of scholarly articles by language theorists in addition to pieces by popular writers and works of short fiction, poetry, and drama. Lively, informative, and authoritative, Reflections on Language leads students and general readers to a deeper understanding of language and its power.

Table of Contents

    Rhetorical Contents
    List of Illustrations
    Introduction: "How to Write with Style", Kurt Vonnegut
    1. Acquiring Language
    "The Day Language Came Into My Life", Helen Keller
    "Dyslexia", Eileen Simpson
    "The Language Faculty", Noam Chomsky
    "Genespeak", Jay Ingram
    "Reinventions of Human Language", Jared Diamond
    "Baby Born Talking--Describes Heaven", Steven Pinker
    2. Communication Across Species
    "Wordy Apes", Donald R. Griffin
    * "Conversations with a Gorilla", Francine Patterson
    Patterson describes experiments in which the gorilla Koko's acquisition and use of sign language led the author and other researchers to believe Koko displayed evidence of linguistic capabilities.
    "What I Learned from Nim Chimsky", Herbert S. Terrace
    "Language and Thought", Susanne K. Langer
    "How to Say 'Fetch!'", Vicki Hearne
    Words, Words, Words, David Ives
    3. The Bodily Basis of Language
    "Symbolic Action", Kenneth Burke
    "The Flesh of Language", David Abram
    "Anger", George Lakoff
    * "The President's Speech", Oliver Sacks
    A medical researcher explores the complex relationship between mind and body in patients who suffer from aphasia, which sensitizes them to discrepancies between words and gestures and makes them human lie detectors.
    "Thinking in Pictures", Temple Grandin
    "The Language of Pain", Richard Selzer
    "Yellowstone: The Erotics of Place", Terry Tempest Williams
    "The Language of Clothes", Alison Lurie
    4. Can We Talk?
    "The Dialogic Imagination", Mikhail M. Bakhtin
    "The Social Basis of Talk", Ronald Wardhaugh
    "Verbal Dueling", Peter Farb
    "Like, Uptalk?", James Gorman
    "Gurdjieff Remembered", Fritz Peters
    "What's Wrong with TV?: Talk Shows", Tom Shachtman
    "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", Raymond Carver
    5. Communication Between the Sexes
    "Language and Woman's Place", Robin Lakoff
    * "Sex, Lies, and Conversation", Deborah Tannen
    A professor of linguistics identifies the distinctive communication styles of men and women and explains how these differences can lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings.
    "Women and the Language of Men", Jane Tompkins
    "Real Men Don't, or Anti-Male Bias in English", Eugene R. August
    "Advertisements for Oneself", Lance Morrow
    "Rule #19: Don't Open Up Too Fast", Sherrie Schneider and Ellen Fein
    "Your First Date", Linda Stasi
    6. Language Between Cultures
    "Salsa x 2", Enrique Fernandez
    "Public and Private Language", Richard Rodriguez
    "Language Lessons", Sarah Min
    "The Language of Discretion", Amy Tan
    "Transformation", Lydia Minatoya
    * "What's in a Name?", David A. Ricks
    A professor of international business underscores the importance of test marketing product or company names to avoid unintended, humorous, offensive, and even obscene connotations when these names are translated into other languages.
    7. Many Englishes
    "Something About English", Paul Roberts
    "The Glamour of Grammar", Julia Penelope
    "Jabberwocky" and "Explaining the Meaning of Jabberwocky", Lewis Carroll
    "From Outside, In", Barbara Mellix
    * "What's in a Name?", Itabari Njeri
    A journalist discusses the importance of names, especially for African Americans, and explains how her choice to adopt her African name changed her life.
    "Ladyfingers & Nun's Tummies", Martha Barnette
    "From A Clockwork Orange", Anthony Burgess
    "Listen mr oxford don", John Agard
    8. The Politics of Everyday Language
    "What's In a Name? The Ideology of Cultural Classification", Jack Solomon
    "The Classroom and the Wider Culture: Identity as a Key to Learning English Composition", Fan Shen
    * "Sexism in English: A 1990s Update", Alleen Pace Nilsen
    A linguist describes the inherent sexism in the English language and documents recent changes in the way Americans talk.
    "AIDS and its Metaphors", Susan Sontag
    "The Word Police", Michiko Kakutani
    "Old Age Needs a New Name, But Don't Look for It in Webster's", Frank Nuessel
    "The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society", Jonathan Kozol
    * "Little Red Riding Hood", James Finn Garner
    This witty takeoff on politically correct ways of thinking offers a modern-day version of the classic fairy tale.
    9. The Rhetoric of Advertising
    "The Hard Sell: Advertising in America", Bill Bryson
    "Ways of Seeing", John Berger
    "The Rhetoric of Advertising", Stuart Hirschberg
    * "From The Beauty Myth", Naomi Wolf
    A feminist author demonstrates how "beauty" functions as a cultural myth that imprisons women in their bodies and nullifies social gains made in recent times.
    "Beauty and the Beast of Advertising", Jean Kilbourne
    "Sprayed and Neutered", Susan Irvine
    10. The Language of Politics
    "Politics and the English Language", George Orwell
    "Analyzing the Rhetoric of Nixon's 'Checkers Speech'", Stuart Hirschberg
    "The Gettysburg Address", Gilbert Highet
    * "Propaganda Under a Dictatorship", Aldous Huxley
    The English novelist and essayist examines how manipulation of language in the propaganda of Nazi Germany conditioned the thoughts and behavior of the masses.
    "I Have a Dream", Martin Luther King, Jr.
    * "Eulogy for a Princess", Earl Charles Spencer
    The brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, delivers a heartfelt tribute to his sister on the occasion of her funeral on September 6, 1997, that touches on perosnal, political, and media issues.
    "How to Watch TV News", Neil Postman and Steve Powers
    11. Cybertalk
    "The Haves and the Have-Nots", LynNell Hancock
    "Into the Electronic Millennium", Sven Birkerts
    "Return to Sender", David Angell and Brent Heslop
    "Women and Computers: Is There Equity in Cyberspace?", Paul Span
    * "The Electronic Palimpsest", Brian Hayes
    The author describes differences in archiving techniques and revision processes between electronically produced documents and their paper equivalents.
    * "How the Web Destroys the Quality of Students' Research Papers", David Rothenberg
    A professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology decries the growing carelessness of students who surf the Net to gather information for their research papers.
    "Christmas Unplugged", Amy Bruckman
    "The Personal Touch", Chet Williamson
    Glossary of Rhetorical and Linguistic Terms
    Index of Authors and Titles

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