Higher Education

About Language: A Reader for Writers, 5th Edition

  • William H. Roberts University of Massachusetts at Lowell
  • Gregoire Turgeon
  • ISBN-10: 0395874637  |  ISBN-13: 9780395874639
  • 456 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 1995
  • © 1998 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $108.00



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.

Table of Contents

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