In this book Deborah Cameron takes a serious look at popular attitudes towards language and examines the practices by which people attempt to regulate its use. Instead of dismissing the practice of 'verbal hygiene', as a misguided and pernicious exercise, however, she argues that popular discourse about language values; good and bad, right and wrong, serves an important function for those engaged in it.
A series of case-studies deal with specific examples of verbal hygiene: the regulation of 'style' by editors, the teaching of English grammar in schools, the movements for and against so-called 'politically-correct' language and the recent explosion of advice to women on how they can speak more effectively. In each case she argues that verbal hygiene provides a way of making sense of linguistic phenomena, and that it represents a symbolic attempt to impose order on the social world.
Addressed to linguistics, professional language-users of all kinds, and to anyone interested in language and culture, Verbal Hygiene, calls for legitimate concerns about language and value to be discussed, by experts and lay-speakers alike, in a rational and critical spirit.
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advice literature African-American anxiety argue argument assertive attitudes authority behaviour belief British Chapter communication concern context conventions copy editors critical cultural debate dictionary discourse discussion effect English language euphemism example existence expression fact feminine feminism feminist gender Geoffrey Nunberg grammar guidelines house style idea identity ideological instance interest issue Jean Aitchison kind Klingon language-users less liberal meaning Milroy moral panic National Curriculum newspaper Newspeak non-sexist language non-standard norms Orwell particular people's plain political correctness popular prescriptive prescriptivism pro-grammar conservatives problem professional question radical readers reasons reference right-wing rules schools self-help sense Simon Jenkins so-called politically correct social society sociolinguistics speak speakers specific spelling standard English story strategy style book style guide stylistic suggests symbolic talk Tannen teaching things tion traditional usage value judgements verbal hygiene practices verbal hygienists water buffalo William Rees-Mogg women's speech words writing
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