Is Ebonics a dialect or simply bad English? Do Eskimos really have different words for snow? Should the US be an English-only nation? Do women and men speak differently? Will computers ever truly learn human language? Virtually everyone feels they have a strong grip on most of these questions, but as Donna Jo Napoli points out in this short, accessible book, a lot of commonly-held conceptions about language are simply wrong.
Napoli provides an entertaining tour through the world of language, examining these and other vexing and controversial language-related questions. Throughout, she encourages and leads the reader to use common-sense and everyday experience rather than preconceived notions or technical linguistic expertise. Both her questions and her conclusions are surprising, sometimes provocative, and always entertaining. This volume is sure to engage both general readers and students of language and linguistics at any level.