Barbarians at the Gate: Studies in Language Attitudes

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9781443817035: Barbarians at the Gate: Studies in Language Attitudes
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The study of language attitudes is the investigation of beliefs expressed about the nature of language and its diverse usages, how these attitudes came to exist and persist, and how these attitudes shape social action and policy. Language attitude studies have illuminated our understanding of racial issues, social and economic stratification, cultural stereotypes, educational issues, folk linguistics, and, more recently, popular culture. This volume is an examination of four intersections in language attitudes research: Authority, Affiliation, Authenticity, and Accommodation. In each section, the contributors introduce new dimensions to the study of language attitudes while providing examples of the ways in which the study of language attitudes can continue to inform and shape our understanding of language diversity.

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It has been far too long since the last book with this breadth on this subject. There is something here for just about anyone who has an interest in language. The book is consistently well written. That is important because I believe it will engage a larger audience, including teachers who do not do (and those who do not trust) empirical research. I cannot emphasize this too much. Teachers (K-12 and college) need to constantly be reminded of facts about language. For most of my academic life, I taught a linguistics course for future teachers (for most, it was the only linguistics course taken). We read many of the works cited in this book, and the students worked on dialect and grammar problem sets; some even did research projects on dialect variance. But when I met those same students later, when they were teaching, many had reverted to the old attitudes of right/wrong. Not contextual right/wrong (e.g., style standards for journals or newspapers or even physics or linguistics professors) but absolute right/wrong. Bishop Lowth, John Simon, et al. paved easier roads to follow. My hope is that this book will inspire many others to begin doing their own research (and having their students conduct such research). As I read the book, I almost wished I were back in the trenches. With each new chapter came many researchable questions. I found myself saying, 'But what if we manipulated this or that variable?' or 'Would the results be the same if we replicated on a different population' or 'Do we really know that or do we just assume it (and how can I test it)?' The best part, of course, is that the language and the speakers will change, so the research constantly has to redone. Were I still teaching, especially graduate students, this would be a required book in several different courses. There is not just a range of foci, but a range of methodologies, so the book would also be useful in a research methods and design course. However, there is also an important consistency: In each piece, the author's conclusions are based on the evidence. --William L. Smith, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Oregon Health & Science University

Barbarians at the Gate is a cogent and provocative contribution to both popular culture studies and language attitudes studies. The collection argues passionately for language diversity and for the importance of studying mass media for language attitudes. Taken together, the lively articles examine thoroughly the factors and contexts at play in understandings of language diversity. It does a particularly good job of addressing issues of identity construction, place, and cultural stereotyping. From analysis of grammar guides to country music, the National Writing Project to popular television sitcoms, the collection covers a lot of ground and successfully demonstrates the importance of this kind of wide-ranging study to assessing language attitudes. From the point of view of popular culture studies, it is exciting to see more of this kind of analysis by linguists and it how it can engage some shared enduring questions, particularly issues of authenticity and legitimacy. The collection's specialized assessment of language use in popular culture is a significant contribution to both fields. --Leigh H. Edwards, Associate Professor, Department of English, Florida State University

This engaging and accessible volume makes a valuable contribution to the field of sociolinguistics. The essays argue persuasively that language variation reflects the diversity of human experience, that voices that are not always heard contain rich structures and ideas, and that their study may yield fresh insights and perspectives. The reader is compelled to reconsider generally accepted prescriptive notions and stereotypes about the speech patterns of stigmatized groups and their languages. --Dr. Stacey Katz, Director of Language Programs, Department of Romance Languages, Harvard University

About the Author:

Patricia Donaher is Associate Professor of English at Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA. She is the national area chair for language attitudes and popular linguistics for the Popular Culture Association. In addition to her scholarship in the area of language attitudes, she works in the field of popular literature and has recently co-authored, with James M. Okapal, an article on free will and determinism in the Harry Potter series in Reading Harry Potter Again (Giselle Liza Anatol, Editor; Praeger, 2009).

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Patricia Donaher
Published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2010)
ISBN 10: 1443817031 ISBN 13: 9781443817035
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Book Description Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. Hardcover. Condition: Brand New. new edition edition. 305 pages. 8.19x5.91x1.18 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # 1443817031

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