Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca

Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca

by John McWhorter

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

“Superb.” —Steven Pinker

“An explanation, a defense, and, most heartening, a celebration. . . . McWhorter demonstrates the ‘legitimacy’ of Black English by uncovering its complexity and sophistication, as well as the still unfolding journey that has led to its creation. . . . [His] intelligent breeziness is the source of the book’s considerable charm.” —New Yorker

Talking Back, Talking Black is [McWhorter’s] case for the acceptance of black English as a legitimate American dialect. . . . He ably and enthusiastically breaks down the mechanics.” —New York Times Book Review

Linguists have been studying Black English as a speech variety for years, arguing to the public that it is different from Standard English, not a degradation of it. Yet false assumptions and controversies still swirl around what it means to speak and sound “black.” In his first book devoted solely to the form, structure, and development of Black English, John McWhorter clearly explains its fundamentals and rich history while carefully examining the cultural, educational, and political issues that have undermined recognition of this transformative, empowering dialect.

Talking Back, Talking Black takes us on a fascinating tour of a nuanced and complex language that has moved beyond America’s borders to become a dynamic force for today’s youth culture around the world.

John McWhorter teaches linguistics, Western civilization, music history, and American studies at Columbia University. A New York Times best-selling author and TED speaker, he is a columnist for CNN.com, a regular contributor to the Atlantic, a frequent guest on CNN and MSNBC, and the host of Slate’s language podcast, Lexicon Valley. His books on language include The Power of Babel; Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue; Words on the Move; Talking Back, Talking Black; and The Creole Debate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942658580
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 124,928
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

John McWhorter teaches linguistics, Western civilization, music history, and American studies at Columbia University. A New York Times best-selling author and TED speaker, he is a columnist for CNN.com, a regular contributor to the Atlantic, a frequent guest on CNN and MSNBC, and the host of Slate’s language podcast, Lexicon Valley. His books on language include The Power of Babel; Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue; Words on the Move; Talking Back, Talking Black; and The Creole Debate.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • It’s Complicated: A Toy Piano Isn’t a Steinway, Right?: The Real Story About Black English Grammar
  • What Do You Mean “Sounds Black”?: Don’t Black People Just Have Southern Accents?
  • But They Can’t Talk That Way at a Job Interview!: Why Americans Think You Can Talk Only One Way
  • Speaking Black or Speaking Minstrel?: And How Much of It Did White People Make Up?
  • Through a Lens Darkly?: Perceiving Black English as It Is: Life Lessons
  • Endnotes
  • Index
  • Customer Reviews