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Language Myths Paperback – 26 Nov 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140260234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140260236
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.3 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Peter Trudgill and Laurie Bauer are both respected linguists. Trudgill has written many books for Penguin (including Sociolinguistics which has sold 130,000 copies since it was first published in 1974). Other contributors include Jean Aitchison (Professor of Language at Oxford), Lars Gunnar-Andersson (co-author of Bad Language with Trudgill) and Janet Holmes (Women, Men and Politeness, 1995, Longman). Peter Trudgill lives in Lausanne (and sometimes Norwich.) Laurie Bauer lives in New Zealand.

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All languages change all the time. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately, linguistic research is generally inaccessible to the non-linguist and so much that is written about human language for the masses is by non-specialists who take the opportunity to air their own prejudices. This book addresses many misconceptions about language, often supported by highly reputable authors who nevertheless can be shown to know nothing about the way language works. As editor Peter Trudgill says, if you want to know about physics, you ask a physicist; and if you want to know about language you ask a linguist and not just someone who has used it successfully in the past. The chapters are written by highly competent academics who are well-known in the linguistics community, and despite their being written for lay readers, there is much here that is also relevant for linguists and students of language. Read this book to find out how all languages are equally complex, why linguistic change is inevitable, and to laugh at the rubbish newspapers print.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Emma on 25 May 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a really great book which aims to dispel commonly held beliefs about language. It's written in a simple, entertaining style that is easy to read, and the fact that it's made up of chapters written by different authors means that it's good to dip in and out of.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Whatsapenname? on 5 April 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is well and understandably written.
However, I'd be surprised if linguists would find this book interesting. I'm not one and find it trivial. Most of the "myths" are nothing but prejudices, often with a tinge of racism or nationalism, and not even that interesting to begin with. Anybody with a little bit of common-sense can dismantle these myths without the help of a linguist. The only thing this book adds to that are some references to scientific literature to back up the arguments for and mainly against these myths.

It's a good enough read but after all the 5-star reviews I expected more (content, information) from it.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 2 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
Readers interested in linguistics will learn that language change can't be prevented because it is a self-regulating system which takes care of itself. All languages are capable of vocabulary expansion to deal with new areas of life their speakers need to talk about. The media, often wrongly accused of ruining a language, are actually linguistic mirrors: they reflect current language usage and extend it. Languages cannot posses good or bad qualities because no language system can ever be shown to be clearer or more logical or more beautiful or ugly than any other language system.

What about the speakers of a language? Despite the widespread belief that women talk more than men, most of the available evidence suggests just the opposite. If you want to learn a foreign language, rest assured that there are no easy or difficult languages. In fact it is not even possible to perform overall measurements of the complexity of a language. Since all human languages allow the precise communication of complex messages they all require a grammatical system. Double negatives may sound appalling in English yet they exist in many other languages. It is therefore not appropriate to think in terms of logic when looking at language use.

An accent is like a map which listeners perceive through their ears and it gives them information about where a speaker was born, what age they are, what gender, what level of education they have, how much they might weigh and whether they feel well or ill at the moment of speaking. And finally readers may be surprised to learn that in many ways - mainly lexical - American English is more conservative than British English.
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By Andrew Hodges on 12 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A book anyone seeking to improve their linguistic awareness should read, will recommend widely to my friends in Croatia/ Serbia :)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent debunking of mistakenly held folklingistic beliefs about language which is written in a clear and accessible style by all contributors.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have bought this book, because as a translator and interpreter I like very much to read new things and new teories about the l subject: language. The only problem with this book is that I find it very academical so I didn't fell very involved in the reading.
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