In the Mideast, words shoot to kill. On the pages of the New Yorker, Romeo IMs Juliet. In India, operators in customer service call centers are required to speak English with an American accent and to be able to make small talk about the Super Bowl. Closer to home, ABC News offers up a linguistic profiling quiz. And George Orwell continues to lament the state of politics and the English language.
This is just some of what you’ll find in What’s Language Got to Do with It?, a thought-provoking new reader that introduces some of the most important language issues facing us today—and prompts students to think hard about their own use of language.
Keith Walters is Professor and Chair of Applied Linguistics at Portland State University, where he teaches sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and research design and methods. Among his favorite courses are “Language and Nationalism in the Middle East” and a writing workshop for TESOL students. Much of his research has focused on issues of language and identity in Tunisia, where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer, and the Arab world more broadly. He’s the author of two other textbooks, Everything’s an Argument with Readings and What’s Language Got to Do with It?
Michal Brody (Ph.D, University of Texas) is a linguist and a lecturer at San Francisco State. She was a founding faculty member of Universidad de Oriente in Yucatan, Mexico, and her scholarly work centers on language pedagogy for English in the United States and Yucatec Maya in Mexico, language politics, and contact between English and Spanish in the United States and Spanish and Maya in Mexico. She’s the editor of the readings in Everyone’s an Author with Readings and of its Tumblr site, and (with Keith Walters) of What’s Language Got to Do with It?, and the editor of They Say / I Blog.