American English in Its Cultural Setting

American English in Its Cultural Setting

American English in Its Cultural Setting

American English in Its Cultural Setting

Excerpt

This is a book for all those who have tangled with the English language in school or out and have come away bruised. It is a book for anyone who needs to understand English and how it works in American society. It is a book for the slow, halting reader or for the good reader who wants to be better. It is a book for the unwilling, inarticulate writer or for the competent writer who wants to be a stylist. It is a comprehensive treatment of English speech and writing in terms of modern studies of language, a display of our language in terms of the various uses we make of it, and a practical, orderly procedure for moving to a command of English in speech or in writing to serve any need of expression. It is, in short, the intelligent person's guide to his native tongue.

The twentieth century has brought us much knowledge about language in general and about English in particular that has shattered centuries-long traditions and turned a brilliant new light on all the processes of language and language-learning. Research findings have tumbled over one another as individual scholars and teams of scholars have refined their methods into analytical tools of unimagined precision, and turned a cold scientific scrutiny on that mystery of the ages -- the means by which men and women in human societies communicate with each other. We could not list here in any reasonable space the colleges and universities -- let alone the individual scholars -- engaged in bringing this new knowledge into being. At Michigan, Indiana, and Cornell, teams of investigators work together, and in the city of Washington alone the Institute of Languages and Linguistics of Georgetown University, the American Language Center of American University, and the School of Language and Linguistics of the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of State have made massive advances in our understanding of language and of English. The support of this work has been . . .

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