Conventions of (American) English

Conventions of (American) English
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355 KB|150 pages
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In this book I deal with American English as viewed by linguistic scientists: An arbitrary system of meaningful sounds. American English is one dialect among many of the English tongue; and its special character has developed through usage within the American community. I invite students to examine the ways in which we organize our thoughts and spell and pronounce our words and punctuate our sentences - not because these pattern and usages rest on the laws of nature - but rather as social conventions which are part of our cultural heritage. The way that one organizes and punctuates sentences and pronounces and spells words are symbols of his cultural identity. Those who do not conform generally to the linguistic behavior of their social group are often treated as outsiders or at least as oddballs. Since our ability to communicate using words and phrases and sentences is what sets us apart from (other) animals, making some effort to explore the rules and usages of our language would seem for students to be time and effort well spent. The failure of modern schools to do an adequate job of teaching the conventions of our language has, in my judgment, been an egregious error.
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150 pages
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