By Robert Lane Greene
"An insightful, available exam of ways during which daily speech is tangled in a classy internet of heritage, 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 manage the way in which humans use phrases. Now this sensational new publication moves again to shield the attention-grabbing, real-life range of this most simple human faculty.
With the erudite but available variety that marks his paintings as a journalist, Robert Lane Greene takes readers on a rollicking journey all over the world, illustrating with shiny anecdotes the position language ideals play in shaping our identities, for stable and unwell. starting with literal myths, from the Tower of Babel to the bloody origins of the be aware “shibboleth,” Greene exhibits how language “experts” went from myth-making to rule-making and from development cohesive groups to development sleek international locations. From the concept 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 type, ethnic, or nationwide prejudices. in brief: What we pay attention approximately language is usually rather concerning the politics of identity.
Governments foolishly try and police language improvement (the French Academy), nationalism ends up in the violent suppression of minority languages (Kurdish and Basque), or even american citizens worry that the main winning language in international background (English) might be threatened by means of elevated immigration. those fake language ideals are usually tied to damaging political ends and will bring about the violation of uncomplicated human rights. Conversely, political involvement in language can occasionally end up worthy, as with the Zionist revival of Hebrew or our present-day efforts to supply schooling in overseas languages necessary to company, international relations, and intelligence. And definite, standardized languages play a very important position in uniting smooth societies.
As this interesting publication exhibits, every little thing we’ve been taught to consider language will not be wrong—but it's always approximately whatever greater than language by myself. You Are What You converse will definitely get humans speaking.