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.
"In this succint, accessible and engaging book, John McWhorter looks at the evidence and concludes that this popular idea is wrong. His argument is convincing and, depsite its brevity, the book cover 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
"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
"[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
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