By Donna Jo Napoli
Is Ebonics quite a dialect or just undesirable English? Do men and women communicate otherwise? Will pcs ever relatively study human language? Does offensive language damage young ones? those are just a number of the concerns surrounding language that crop up each day. so much folks have very convinced reviews on those questions a method or one other. but as linguist Donna Jo Napoli issues out during this brief and hugely interesting quantity, lots of our such a lot deeply held rules concerning the nature of language and its function in our lives are both misconceived or prompted by means of myths and stereotypes Napoli presents an enjoyable journey in the course of the international of language, studying those and different vexing and arguable language-related questions. all through, she encourages and leads the reader to exploit commonsense and daily adventure instead of preconceived notions or technical linguistic services. either her questions and her conclusions are miraculous, occasionally provocative, and regularly enjoyable. This quantity is bound to interact either basic readers and scholars of language and linguistics at any point.
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Extra resources for Language Matters: A Guide to Everyday Questions About Language
At the time of her discovery, she could hardly walk and gave no indication of knowing what speech was. Several researchers worked for years to teach Genie language, and although she never progressed beyond an unsystematic stringing together of a few words, she did manage to talk about the events of her life, including events that had happened prior to her gaining linguistic knowledge. Clearly, these memories constitute thought—thought that was independent of linguistic structure. Another way to argue that thought is not equivalent to specific language can be drawn from consideration of our vocabulary.
Instructional conversations are better teaching tools than memorization drills or lectures and recitations. And certainly conversations are more like the ordinary language one is exposed to in first language acquisition than are memorization drills and the like. So far I’ve presented several generalizations that you can find in the literature on second language learning, and I haven’t introduced any controversy. In chapter 11, we will try to put ourselves in one situation that some second language learners face.
46 Language: The Human Ability Vocabulary differences are not the only differences between languages, so we should turn now to other types of differences and ask what they tell us about the relationships between language and thought. Some scholars have argued that a certain population cannot reason in the same way as another population because of syntactic differences between the languages of the two populations. Instead of reporting on that literature (which would require a lengthy discussion), I’ll present an analogous situation that has not been widely discussed in this light.