Reflections on Language

Reflections on Language

Reflections on Language

Reflections on Language


Reflections on Language brings together a collection of seventy-eight articles that examine language from many different perspectives. Its selections focus on language as a social form, demonstrating how it is an indispensable component of the world and how we interpret it. Organizedthematically, the text addresses many topics, including the acquisition of language, the rhetoric of advertising, the language of politics, language between the sexes, and language across cultures. It also discusses areas not covered by similar books, such as the bodily basis of language,communication across species, and the language of cyberspace. Ideal for courses in freshman composition, introduction to language, and a variety of writing classes, Reflections on Language helps students and other readers to become more aware of language and to use it more effectively. The text offers useful aids for writing instruction, including anopening chapter on writing and revising, a rhetorical table of contents, and a glossary, as well as introductory notes, journal writing prompts, and analytical exercises for each selection. Reflections on Language also includes an index as well as thirteen advertisements, eighteen cartoons, andnumerous end-of-chapter writing assignments. This unique reader incorporates a substantial number of scholarly articles by language theorists in addition to pieces by popular writers and works of short fiction, poetry, and drama. Lively, informative, and authoritative, Reflections on Language leadsstudents and general readers to a deeper understanding of language and its power.


Language is an indispensable component of the world, and enables us to think about and interpret our society and culture. Reflections on Language is a thematic language reader that is intended to help students study the medium they are attempting to master, become more aware of language, and employ it more effectively. A major emphasis of Reflections on Language is on language as a social form; students will discover the complex, subtle, and often unseen ways in which language interactions shape perception. Instructions and apparatus incorporated in the work focus on the role that language plays in the writing process, and are designed to encourage students to keep journals and write about language.

In addition to seventy-three lively, informative, and authoritative readings, this text also includes five selections of short fiction, poetry and drama that exemplify the eleven themes and language practices in each chapter. The organization of the book and the sequence in which themes are presented are especially useful for understanding what language is; how it is acquired as part of our genetic and biological inheritance; how it develops through a variety of interpersonal, social, and cultural interactions; how it is used for commercial and political purposes; and the new direction language is taking because of computers.


The introduction looks at some of the different uses of language; stresses the importance of critical reading, journal-keeping, and knowing one’s audience . . .

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