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Exploring Language



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  • Exploring Language with NEW MyCompLab -- Access Card Package
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This market-leading language reader features thought-provoking readings that explore the various interconnections between language and American society.


For more than 25 years, this engaging reader has challenged students to critically examine how language affects and constructs culture and how culture constructs and affects language. This thirteenth edition maintains the integrity of past editions while reflecting the new and fascinating language issues that exist in today's culture. Provocative selections are organized around nine major topics, and then broken into stimulating sub-themes like the connections between gender and language differences, hate speech, the language of war, and censorship on campus, inviting students to debate current social and cultural issues that are inseparable from language.


Table of Contents


*Chapter 1: Critical Thinking and Reading                      

What Is Critical Thinking?

Why Read Critically?

How to Read Critically

Logical Fallacies—What They Are and How to Avoid Them

Exploring the Language of Visual Arguments

Analyzing Visual Arguments                               


*Chapter 2: Critical Writing

Finding Topics to Write About

The General Audience

The Writing Process

Developing Your Ideas

Why Essays Need Supporting Evidence

Forms of Evidence

Some Tips About Supporting Evidence

Structuring Your Essay



*Chapter 3: Researching Your Papers

Sources of Information

Locating Sources

Evaluating Sources

Drafting Your Paper

Revising and Editing Your Paper



*Chapter 4 Documentation Guide

Where Does the Documentation Go

Documentation Style

A Brief Guide to MLA and APA Style

Sample Student Research Paper


Chapter 5: The Evolution of Language: Learning to Communicate 

 From Hand to Mouth, Michael C. Corballis                                               

Language and Thought, Susanne K. Langer

Horton Heared A Who!, Steven Pinker

*Bilingual Mind: Understanding How the Brain Speaks Two Languages, Jeffrey Kluger

*Visual: Four Letter Words

Chunking, Ben Zimmer                                            

Another Language for the Deaf, Margalit Fox                                          

 Visual: SignWriting  




Chapter 6: Language Awareness: Personal Recollections

Homemade Education, Malcolm X                                      

A Word for Everything, Helen Keller

 Visual: American Sign  Language Alphaet

*Coming into Language, Jimmy Santiago Baca

* Living with Dyslexia, Gareth Cook

 Spanish Lessons, Christine Marín 

The Language of Silence, Maxine Hong Kingston


Chapter 7: Language Use: What’s Your Language?

 Why the U.S. Needs an Official Language, Mauro E. Mujica

·Visual: Speak American

Do You Speak American? Robert MacNeil                                    

 Everyone Has an Accent but Me, John Esling                                           

Good English and Bad, Bill Bryson

 Why Good English Is Good For You, John Simon

The Like Virus, David Grambs

Lost in America, Douglas McGray


Chapter 8: Language and Technology: Our Digital Discourse                                 

In the Beginning Was the Word, Christine Rosen

*Much ado about blogging, Scott Rosenberg

Texting, David Crystal

 r u online?: The evolving lexicon of wired teens, Kris Axtman                           

Visual: I Like Your Hoodie . . . (photograph)

 I Tweet, Therefore I Am, Peggy Orenstein                                    

 *Note to Selfie, John Dickerson,


Chapter 9: Language Dynamics: A Failure to Communicate?       

Women Talk Too Much, Janet Holmes

What Language Barrier? Deborah Cameron

Oh, Mom. Oh, Honey, Deborah Tannen

Nonverbal Behavior, Teri Kwal Gamble & Michael W. Gamble

Small-Scale Communication, Jennifer Akin

Some Friends and I Started Talking, Margaret J. Wheatley                      


Chapter 10: Language Sensitivity: You Can’t Say That     

Hate Speech, Robin Tolmach Lakoff

Hate Speech, Robin Tolmach Lakoff

The Word Police, Michiko Kakutani

*Excised by the Language Police, Dianne Ravich

Hate Speech Cannot Be Tolerated, Richard Delgado

Visual: Free Speech Area

Nigger: The Meaning of a Word, Gloria Naylor

 *There Is No Such Thing as Free Speech, Stanley Fish



Chapter 11: The Language Advertising: Why We Buy     

The Language of Advertising Claims, Jeffrey Schrank

The Language of Advertising, Charles A O’Neill

Be All That You Can Be: The Company Persona and Language Alignment, Frank Lunt

*I Can’t See Clearly Now, Martin Lindstrom

Visual: Current Advertisements                                              



Chapter 12: Language and Government: Political Wordplay                       

How to Detect Propaganda, Institute for Propaganda Analysis  

Doubts About Doublespeak, William Lutz           

Politics and the English Language, George Orwell

Fighting Words: The War over Language, Jon Hooten    

Do You Speak Presidential?, Anna Marie Trester                                             

*Writing a Great Campaign Speech, James T. Snyder

Freedom of Speech and the Editorial Cartoon, Doug Marlette   

Visual: Political Cartoons


Chapter 13: Language of Change: Challenging the Status Quo

Aren’t I a Woman? Sojourner Truth

*Nelson Mandela's Inaugural speech as State President

*Speech at the March on Washington, Josephine Baker

VISUAL: Elizabeth Eckford at Little Rock Central High School

Inaugural Address, John F. Kennedy

*Living the Revolution, Gloria Steinem

Chapter 14: Language and Thought: Shaping the Brain

Does Language Shape How You Think?, Guy Deutscher                                                 

Chomsky’s Universal Grammar, Bruno Dubuc                                                    

Nothing Is Missing, Tom Munnecke                                                       

Visual: Calvin and Hobbs (cartoon)                                                         

You Say Up, I Say Yesterday, Joan O’C. Hamilton                                                              

Lost in Translation, Lera Boroditsky                                                        

*Is the Internet Changing the Way We Think?, John Naughton

Mind over Mass Media, Steven Pinker                                                  

































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