Do women talk more than men? Does text messaging make you stupid? Can chimpanzees really talk to us? This fascinating textbook addresses a wide range of language myths, focusing on important big-picture issues such as the rule-governed nature of language or the influence of social factors on how we speak. Case studies and analysis of relevant experiments teach readers the skills to become informed consumers of social science research, while suggested open-ended exercises invite students to reflect further on what they've learned. With coverage of a broad range of topics (cognitive, social, historical), this textbook is ideal for non-technical survey courses in linguistics. Important points are illustrated with specific, memorable examples: invariant 'be' shows the rule-governed nature of African-American English; vulgar female speech in Papua New Guinea shows how beliefs about language and gender are culture-specific. Engaging and accessibly written, Kaplan's lively discussion challenges what we think we know about language.
Abby Kaplan is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Utah.
1. Introduction; Part I. ...But Is It Language?: 2. 'A dialect is a collection of mistakes'; 3. 'Sign language is skilled charades'; 4. 'Chimpanzees can talk to us'; Part II. Language Learning: 5. 'Children have to be taught language'; 6. 'Adults can't learn a new language'; 7. 'Being bilingual makes you smarter (or dumber)'; Part III. Language in Use: 8. 'Women talk more than men'; 9. 'Texting makes you illiterate'; 10. 'The most beautiful language is French'; 11. 'My language limits my thoughts'; Appendix A. Statistics brief reference.