The authors of About Language encourage students to use language more responsibly in their own writing. More than 70 reading selections cover a broad range of issues, including cultural diversity, censorship, and gender. Strong support is provided by an opening chapter on the writing process; annotated table of contents; chapter introductions; selection headnotes, study questions and writing assignments; end-of-chapter writing assignments and research activities; and a glossary of language and rhetorical terms.
1. Names and Naming From a World Without Surnames, J. N. Hook A Strange Kind of Magick Bias, Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays from "I know Why the Caged Bird Sings," Maya Angelou Just Call Me Mister, David Frum Putting American English on the Map, W. F. Bolton Playing the Name Game by Other Rules, Chet Raymo Aesthetics, Felix Pollak Additional Assignments and Research Topics 2. Gender, Race, and Language Conflict Sexism in English: A 1990s Update, Alleen Pace Nilsen "Put Down That Paper and Talk to Me!": Rapport-talk and Report-talk, Deborah Tannen Real Men Don't: Anti-Male Bias in English, Eugene R. August The Name Is Mine, Anna Quindlen From African to African American, Geneva Smitherman On Black English, James Baldwin Additional Assignments and Research Topics 3. Right Words, Wrong Words, My Words Order Out of Chaos, Bill Bryson A Rarity: Grammar Lessons from Dad, Robert Klose Four-Letter Words Can Hurt You, Barbara Lawrence Goodbye to All T__t! Wallace Stegner The E Word, Cullen Murphy Words with Attitude, Gerald Parshall English Belongs to Everybody, Robert MacNeil Additional Assignments and Research Topics 4. Language Development: Personal and Social Everything Had a Name, Helen Keller Baby Born Talking--Describes Heaven, Steven Pinker The Word Weavers / The World Makers, Neil Postman A Brief History of English, Paul Roberts Old World, New World, Bill Bryson Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, Leslie Savan The Story of Writing, C.M. Millward Additional Assignments and Research Topics 5. Language and Cultural Diversity Vanishing Languages, David Crystal Should English Be the Law? Robert D. King Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood, Richard Rodriguez Americanization Is Tough on "Macho," Rose Del Castillo Guilbault, Names in the Melting Pot, Justin Kaplan and Anne Bernays Learning English Good, Tara Elyssa Additional Assignments and Research Topics 6. The Language of Politics and Advertising The Rhetoric of Democracy, Daniel Boorstin Empty Eggs: The Doublespeak of Weasel Words, William Lutz Things Go Better with Quark? Chris Reidy Three Advertisements for Analysis Unprotected Sex Talk, Ellen Goodman Types of Propaganda, Institute for Propaganda Analysis next to of course god america i, E. E. Cummings Two Presidential Speeches, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan Additional Assignments and Research Topics 7. Technology and Language Flame Throwers, Doug Stuart Gender Wars in Cyberspace!, Nathan Cobb Getting Close to the Machine, Ellen Ullman C'est What? John Yemma Techniques of Coinage, John A. Berry Additional Assignments and Research Topics 8. Writers and the Writing Process Freewriting, Chris Anderson from "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life," Anne Lamott Holding Your Reader, Maxine C. Hairston Writing Is Rewriting, Donald M. Murray Concision, Joseph M. Williams Computers and Writing, Sharon Cogdill Additional Assignments and Research Topics Appendix: Writing and Documenting: A Brief Guide I. Essay Writing and Revising Revision Checklist A Sample Student Essay II. The Documented Essay Revision Checklist Typical Works Cited Entries A Sample Documented Essay Glossary of Rhetorical and Linguistic Terms