Monday, October 13, 2003

Is the degredation of language destroying culture in the U.S.?: A review of Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care, by John McWhorter (Gotham, 304 pages, $26)

"'Spoken language is best suited to harboring easily processible chunks of information, broad lines, and emotion. To the extent that our public discourse leans ever more toward this pole, the implications for the prospect of an informed citizenry are dire. ... Americans after the 1960s have lived in a country with less pride in its language that any other society in recorded history.'

"McWhorter has nothing but relentless scorn for the National Council of Teachers of English and other ostensibly professional groups who since the 1960s have been campaigning against disciplined grammar, analysis and other formal standards."

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