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The Language War

Format Post in Literature BY Robin Tolmach Lakoff

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The Language War
Robin Tolmach Lakoff
Type: eBook
Released: 2001
Publisher: University of California Press
Page Count: 334
Format: pdf
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0520232070
From Publishers Weekly In a series of provocative, dazzlingly argued essays, Lakoff charts how the media's use of language shapes both public attitudes and social policies on current events, including the "political correctness" debate, the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings, the O.The Language War Textbook J. Simpson trial and the debate over "ebonics." A professor of linguistics at the University of California-Berkeley, she discusses how specific words and linguistic constructs have adopted political meaning--such as George Will's use of an unidentified "we" in his columns, with the presumption that all readers share his ideas and values. Lakoff shines in her careful reading of how declarative sentences paraded as questions in the Hill/Thomas hearings or of how jokes about "Hebonics" (the Jewish-American language) underlined the unspoken racism in the media's attack on ebonics. She is also especially adept in her investigation of the language used in the media to "construct" the public image of Hillary Rodham Clinton, in which she exposes how subtle changes in word usage, grammatical construction and tone have helped create multiple personas for the First Lady--from a sexually predatory monster to a contemporary Eleanor Roosevelt--to suit the emotional and psychological needs of different constituencies. Witty and illuminating, Lakoff's analysis is an important addition to both linguistic and political studies. (June) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the edition. From Library Journal Offering a linguist's view of big 1990s news stories, Lakoff (linguistics, Univ. of California, Berkeley) gives general readers insight into recent changes regarding language. She covers a range of topics (from politically correct phrases to the way news media influence events) to connect linguistics with politicsDcontributing to a trend in popular linguistics books that includes cognitive scientist Steven Pinker's latest, Words and Rules (LJ 12/99). Analyzing six news subjects (from Ebonics to the Clinton sex scandal), Lakoff applies linguistic theories and examines issues from a sociological/ political viewpoint. Overall, she successfully illustrates the importance of free speech in a democracy. Her tone is casual, and the prose is frequently laced with humor, anecdotes, and quotes from the media. For a related, more specialized treatment, look to John M. Conley and William M. O'Barr's examination of language in the operation of law in Just Words: Law, Language and Power (Univ. of Chicago, 2000). Recommended for larger public libraries.DMarianne Orme, West Lafayette, IN Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the edition.

The Language War

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