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I Language, Education, and Cultural Change

We are not all the same. Our customs, lifestyles, attitudes, and norms, all differ in large and small ways. This variety includes language use. We might all speak the same language, but differences exist at many levels of daily life, in school, between different cultures, and across nationalities. Furthermore, these differences, especially the ones we don't particularly pay attention to, can have wide-ranging ramifications for us.

In Part I, we start out by examining the attitudes about language variation held by teachers and students. The real world includes the classroom, and the language behaviour and expectations we bring into that classroom. Chapter 1, by Susan J. Behrens and Rebecca L. Sperling, introduces the idea of accent and dialect. They use this information about linguistics to illuminate what happens in the classroom when speakers of the standard and non-standard dialects of English make assumptions and limit access to voice. Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, in Chapter 2, continues the conversation about differences, this time regarding pragmatic norms, and she widens the exploration to communities and cultures in contact, sometimes living side by side in the same city. We finish Part I with a view into the world of a pronunciation teacher. Joanna Labov discusses the training involved in helping students learn the phonology of another language, and why it is important to us all to understand such a process.

II Literature, Translation, and Computers

A fundamental source of linguistic knowledge we have been using our entire student lives is the dictionary. Chapter 4 is written by a linguistics professor who loves dictionaries. Paul D. Fallon brings to us a fresh look at an old friend. Chapters 5 and 6 delve into translation. Translators Mary Boldt and Esperanza Roncero show us in Chapter 5 why translating from one language to another is not simple, and they make us think about how our worlds widen when we can see connections among languages. Nan Decker, in Chapter 6, offers us a view into the world of machine translation. When a software program does the work of a translator, what are the results? We finish this part with a chapter by Carmen Gillespie, a Toni Morrison scholar and professor of creative writing and literature (Chapter 7). She explores the use of what she calls transgressive language in popular culture and in contemporary literature, specifically concentrating on Morrison's novels Beloved and Jazz.

III Language, Power, and Identity

Part III takes us through three chapters that question how language interfaces with our sense of self, our identities. Judith A. Parker and Deborah Mahlstedt, a linguist and a social psychologist, explore how talking about sexual assault experiences is mediated in different contexts by social norms and power structures (Chapter 8). Diana Boxer (Chapter 9) ponders the importance of naming practices in marriage, specifically the trading of women's maiden names for their husbands' surnames (sirnames?). In Chapter 10, forensic linguist Carole E. Chaski introduces us to the world of linguistics as a forensic science. Those readers familiar with forensics as part of police and legal work will be convinced that analyzing linguistic data using scientifically defensible methods can be just as informative.

IV Forms of Language and Communication

Part IV looks at language in several incarnations: the emerging language in childhood, a signed language, and the communication system of a different species. Chapter 11, by Janine Graziano-King and Helen Smith Cairns, explains how linguistic competence develops in childhood. First language acquisition is an amazing feat for so young a child, and this chapter takes us along for the journey. Miako Villanueva, Deanna Twain, and Laura Leigh Wood, the authors of Chapter 12, are users of American Sign Language (ASL). We learn what ASL is linguistically from ASL scholars and sign interpreters. We finish this section with a chapter by a honey bee expert (Chapter 13). When he is not out in the fields, tending to his hives, Wyatt A. Mangum is teaching us how these creatures convey information via an elaborate and symbolic dance. The chapter challenges readers to think more broadly about language, for the real world comprises many types of communication.

V Language and Communication Science

The text finishes with an exploration of linguistics as it is employed by speech-language pathologists, neurolinguists, and psychologists. Part V offers us four chapters by therapists and researchers in the science world. Ann D. Jablon, in Chapter 14, shows us how a speech- language pathologist diagnoses and treats speech and language disorders. Readers work through case studies with the author to understand the process of diagnosis and treatment. Cecile L. Stein, in Chapter 15, looks more narrowly at language, with her investigation of how children tell stories (narratives) in different parts of the world. Chapter 16, by Yael Neumann, Linda Carozza, and Anastasia Georgiou, is a fascinating look into linguistics applied to neurological research. The brain as it ages, be it along a normal progression or into dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease, can be better understood by employing psycholinguistic research. The book ends with a chapter by Marion Blank and Mary Beth Cull on a subject we hear much about these days but need to understand better: autism. Chapter 17 shows us the history and clinical view of what is now called Autism Spectrum Disorders in children.

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