Readership: Students, scholars, and interested general readers of sociolinguistics, cultural theory, and social science
John H. McWhorter, Professor of Linguistics, Columbia University
John McWhorter is Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University and author of many books, including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English, and What Language Is, What It Isn't, and What It Could Be. He also writes on language, as well as race and cultural issues, as Contributing Editor at The New Republic and Columnist at Time. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Time, and The New Yorker, and he has appeared often on National Public Radio, CSPAN and MSNBC.
"Engrossing reading." - Kerstin Hoge, Times Higher Education
"In this succinct, accessible and engaging book, John McWhorter looks at the evidence and concludes that this popular idea is wrong. His argument is convincing and, despite its brevity, the book covers immense ground. Anyone fascinated by language would enjoy and learn from it." - Oliver Kamm, The Times
"He [McWhorter] is an engaging, persuasive writer, and although his book is unlikely to be the final word on the subject, it is a provocative and valuable addition to the debate." - Ian Critchley, The Sunday Times Ireland
"The Language Hoax is a welcome antidote to unqualified Whorfian claims and pronouncements." -
Kerstin Hoge, Times Higher Education
"John McWhorter wishes to drive a stake through the heart of that claim, known as the Safir-Whorf hypothesis, or the language-as-lens theory." - Tom Bartlett, The Chronicle of Higher Education
"[McWhorter] tackles linguistic determinism— the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis—head on, arguing that world views are human, not strapped to one culture." - Nature
"McWhorter writes with liveliness and enthusiasm, noting: All languages are, in their own ways, as utterly awesome as creatures, snowflakes, Haydn string quartets, or what The Magnificent Ambersons would have been like if Orson Welles had been allowed to do the final edit. This book makes very accessible to the lay reader some of
the more esoteric theories of linguistic studies." - Publishers Weekly
"a well-written and stimulating book that asks uncomfortable questions and turns common arguments on their head. The author uses examples from an impressive number of languages across the globe to provide counter-examples to claims that may easily be made (and occasionally have been made) about the influence of language on thought ... McWhorter manages the difficult task of properly positioning himself within the vast territory between the two extremes of linguistic determinism and biolinguistics." - Peter Backhaus, Linguist List
Chapter One: Studies Have Shown
Chapter Two: Having it Both Ways?
Chapter Three: An Interregnum: On Culture
Chapter Four: Dissing the Chinese
Chapter Five: What's the World View from English?
Chapter Six: Respect for Humanity