By Robert Lane Greene
"An insightful, obtainable exam of ways within which daily speech is tangled in a sophisticated internet of background, politics, race, economics and power." - Kirkus
What is it approximately different people’s language that strikes a few of us to nervousness or maybe rage? for hundreds of years, sticklers across the world have donned the cloak of authority to manage the best way humans use phrases. Now this sensational new ebook moves again to guard the attention-grabbing, real-life variety of this most simple human faculty.
With the erudite but obtainable sort that marks his paintings as a journalist, Robert Lane Greene takes readers on a rollicking journey worldwide, illustrating with bright anecdotes the function language ideals play in shaping our identities, for solid and unwell. starting with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the be aware “shibboleth,” Greene indicates how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from development cohesive groups to construction smooth countries. From the concept of 1 language’s superiority to the typical conception that words like “It’s me” are “bad English,” linguistic ideals too usually outline “us” and distance “them,” assisting category, ethnic, or nationwide prejudices. in brief: What we listen approximately language is usually relatively in regards to the politics of identity.
Governments foolishly attempt to police language improvement (the French Academy), nationalism ends up in the violent suppression of minority languages (Kurdish and Basque), or even americans worry that the main winning language in international heritage (English) will be threatened by way of elevated immigration. those fake language ideals are usually tied to damaging political ends and will result in the violation of easy human rights. Conversely, political involvement in language can occasionally end up priceless, as with the Zionist revival of Hebrew or our present-day efforts to supply schooling in international languages necessary to company, international relations, and intelligence. And certain, standardized languages play a very important position in uniting glossy societies.
As this interesting e-book exhibits, every little thing we’ve been taught to contemplate language will not be wrong—but it is usually approximately whatever greater than language by myself. You Are What You converse will definitely get humans conversing.