New Books In Language



Interviews with Scholars of Language about their New Books


  • Roslyn Petelin, "How Writing Works: A Field Guide to Effective Writing" (Routledge, 2021)

    20/05/2022 Duración: 27min

    Listen to this interview of Roslyn Petelin, Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia. We talk about her book How Writing Works: A Field Guide to Effective Writing (Routledge, 2021) writing well and knowing why. Roslyn Petelin : "My book caters for all kinds of writers: student writers, creative writers, technical writers, journalistic writers, corporate writers, all of whom need to be able to write well, write successfully, for either personal or corporate credibility." Contact Daniel at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Sofia Stolk, "The Opening Statement of the Prosecution in International Criminal Trials: A Solemn Tale of Horror" (Routledge, 2021)

    13/05/2022 Duración: 53min

    Dr. Sofia Stolk’s The Opening Statement of the Prosecution in International Criminal Trials: A Solemn Tale of Horror (Routledge, 2021) addresses the discursive importance of the prosecution’s opening statement before an international criminal tribunal. Opening statements are considered to be largely irrelevant to the official legal proceedings but are simultaneously deployed to frame important historical events. They are widely cited in international media as well as academic texts; yet have been ignored by legal scholars as objects of study in their own right. Dr. Stolk aims to remedy this neglect, by analysing the narrative that is articulated in the opening statements of different prosecutors at different tribunals in different times. This book aims to magnify the story of the opening statement where it becomes ambiguous, circular, repetition, self-referential, incomplete, and inescapable. It aims to uncover the specificities of a discourse that is built on and rebuilds paradoxes, to illuminate some of the

  • Mónica Guzmán, "I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times" (BenBella Books, 2022)

    09/05/2022 Duración: 01h03min

    Journalist Mónica Guzmán is the loving liberal daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted—twice—for Donald Trump. When the country could no longer see straight across the political divide, Mónica set out to find what was blinding us and discovered the most eye-opening tool we’re not using: our own built-in curiosity. Partisanship is up, trust is down, and our social media feeds make us sure we’re right and everyone else is ignorant (or worse). But avoiding one another is hurting our relationships and our society. In I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times (BenBella Books, 2022), Mónica takes us to the real front lines of a crisis that threatens to grind America to a halt—broken conversations among confounded people. Drawing from cross-partisan conversations she’s had, organized, or witnessed everywhere from the echo chambers on social media to the wheat fields in Oregon to raw, unfiltered fights with her own family on election night, Mónica shows

  • The Importance of Pali, the Language of Ancient Buddhism

    04/05/2022 Duración: 32min

    Core Buddhist teachings are preserved in the ancient Indian language Pali. Listen in as Aleix Ruiz-Falqués speaks about its structure, its significance, and opportunities to study it with him online. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Hana Videen, "The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English" (Princeton UP, 2022)

    02/05/2022 Duración: 52min

    Old English is the language you think you know until you actually hear or see it. Unlike Shakespearean English or even Chaucer’s Middle English, Old English—the language of Beowulf—defies comprehension by untrained modern readers. Used throughout much of Britain more than a thousand years ago, it is rich with words that haven’t changed (like word), others that are unrecognizable (such as neorxnawang, or paradise), and some that are mystifying even in translation (gafol-fisc, or tax-fish). In this delightful book, Hana Videen gathers a glorious trove of these gems and uses them to illuminate the lives of the earliest English speakers. We discover a world where choking on a bit of bread might prove your guilt, where fiend-ship was as likely as friendship, and where you might grow up to be a laughter-smith. The Wordhord: Daily Life in Old English (Princeton UP, 2022) takes readers on a journey through Old English words and customs related to practical daily activities (eating, drinking, learning, working); relat

  • Zhihui Fang, "Demystifying Academic Writing: Genres, Moves, Skills, and Strategies" (Routledge, 2021)

    22/04/2022 Duración: 55min

    Listen to this interview of Zhihui Fang, the Irving and Rose Fien Endowed Professor of Education in the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida. We talk his book Demystifying Academic Writing: Genres, Moves, Skills, and Strategies (Routledge, 2021) and about how functional grammar can benefit the academic writer. Zhihui Fang : "Learning disciplinary content is primarily a linguistic process. When you learn the language that construes particular content, then you are learning just how people understand this content, and so content and language go together inseparably. That's why language should be a key component to our pedagogical emphasis in whatever the subject being taught." Watch Daniel edit your science here. Contact Daniel at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Priyambada Sarkar, "Language, Limits, and Beyond: Early Wittgenstein and Rabindranath Tagore" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    20/04/2022 Duración: 58min

    What does a Bengali intellectual and poet have in common with a British-Austrian logician and philosopher? In Language, Limits, and Beyond: Early Wittgenstein and Rabindranath Tagore (Oxford University Press, 2021), Priyambada Sarkar explores the shared fascination both of these figures have with the limitations of language, the nature of the ineffable, and the role of poetry in our appreciatin both. While we know that the young Ludwig Wittgenstein read Tagore’s works to the Vienna Circle, Sarkar goes beyond this and other biographical anecdotes to demonstrate the depth of his interest in Tagore and the resonance between their approaches to language. She argues that while philosophers, according to early Wittgenstein, should maintain silence about certain domains, this does not extend to the poet or the artist, who is able to show, indirectly, what is beyond the threshold of language: the ethical, the religious, and the aesthetic. Tagore’s works themselves not only exemplify this capacity, but reflect on this

  • Szu-Wen Kung, "Translation of Contemporary Taiwan Literature in a Cross-Cultural Context" (Routledge, 2021)

    19/04/2022 Duración: 54min

    Translation of Contemporary Taiwan Literature in a Cross-Cultural Context (Routledge, 2021) explores the social, cultural, and linguistic implications of translation of Taiwan literature for transnational cultural exchange. It demonstrates principally how asymmetrical cultural relationships, mediation processes, and ideologies of the translation players constitute the culture-specific translation activity as a highly contested site, where translation can reconstruct and rewrite the literature and the culture it represents. Four main theoretical themes are explored in relation to such translation activity: sociological studies, cultural and rewriting studies, English as a lingua franca, and social and performative linguistics. These offer insightful perspectives on the translation as an interpretive encounter between not only two languages, two cultural systems and assumptions taking place, but also among various translation mediators. This book will be useful to scholars and students working on translation an

  • Jennifer Delfino, "Speaking of Race: Language, Identity, and Schooling Among African American Children" (Lexington Book, 2020)

    18/04/2022 Duración: 58min

    In Speaking of Race: Language, Identity, and Schooling Among African American Children (Lexington Books, 2020), Jennifer Delfino explores the linguistic practices of African American children in an after school program in Washington, DC. Drawing on ethnographic research, Delfino illustrates how students’ linguistic practices are often perceived as barriers to learning and achievement and provides an in-depth look at how students challenge this perception by using language to transform the meaning of race in relation to ideas about academic success. Jennifer Delfino is assistant professor in the Department of Academic Literacy and Linguistics at Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Learn more about your ad choices

  • Jennifer Petersen, "How Machines Came to Speak: Media Technologies and Freedom of Speech" (Duke UP, 2022)

    14/04/2022 Duración: 43min

    In How Machines Came to Speak: Media Technologies and Freedom of Speech (Duke University Press, 2022), Jennifer Petersen constructs a genealogy of how legal conceptions of “speech” have transformed over the last century in response to new media technologies. Drawing on media and legal history, Petersen shows that the legal category of speech has varied considerably, evolving from a narrow category of oratory and print publication to a broad, abstract conception encompassing expressive nonverbal actions, algorithms, and data. She examines a series of pivotal US court cases in which new media technologies—such as phonographs, radio, film, and computer code—were integral to this shift. In judicial decisions ranging from the determination that silent films were not a form of speech to the expansion of speech rights to include algorithmic outputs, courts understood speech as mediated through technology. Speech thus became disarticulated from individual speakers. By outlining how legal definitions of speech are ind

  • Ellen Jones, "Literature in Motion: Translating Multilingualism Across the Americas" (Columbia UP, 2022)

    29/03/2022 Duración: 01h17min

    In Literature in Motion: Translating Multilingualism Across the Americas (Columbia University Press, 2022), Ellen C. Jones centers not just translation but multilingualism as both an artistic practice and scholarly lens through which to examine the production and reception of literature across the Americas. Focusing on writers who use mixed language forms such as “Spanglish,” “Portunhol,” and “Frenglish,” she shows how these authors and their translators use multilingualism to disrupt binaries and hierarchies in language, gender, and literary production itself.   In this episode of NBN, Ellen Jones discusses the complex relationship and perceived tensions between translation and multilingualism, the sociopolitical forces that have shaped the status of multilingualism within the United States, her experience translating Susana Chávez-Silverman’s multilingual writing, multilingualism as queer practice in Giannina Braschi’s Yo-Yo Boing! and Tess O’Dwyer’s English-only translation of Yo-Yo Boing!, indigenous mult

  • Jing Tsu, "Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern" (Riverhead Books, 2022)

    24/03/2022 Duración: 38min

    Tens of thousands of characters. Countless homonyms. Mutually unintelligible dialects across an entire country. This is what faced the Chinese thinkers, inventors and technicians who had to figure out how to standardize, translate, and adapt the Chinese language for a new country, and for new technologies. Professor Jing Tsu’s Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution that Made China Modern (Riverhead Books, 2022) tells the stories of those who worked to transform Chinese for the 20th century. In this interview, Jing and I talk about thinkers and technicians: those who toiled to make the Chinese language work for typewriters, telegraphs, and other important technologies. Jing Tsu is the John M. Schiff Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale. She specializes in Chinese literature, history, and culture from the nineteenth century to the present, and received her doctorate in Chinese studies from Harvard. A Guggenhei

  • N. J. Enfield, "Language Vs. Reality: Why Language Is Good for Lawyers and Bad for Scientists" (MIT Press, 2022)

    23/03/2022 Duración: 01h08min

    Nick Enfield’s book, Language vs. Reality: Why Language is Good for Lawyers and Bad for Scientists (MIT Press, 2022), argues that language is primarily for social coordination, not precisely transferring thoughts from one person to another. Drawing on empirical research, Enfield shows that human lexicons the world over are far more coarse-grained than our perceptual faculties. Yet, at the same time, languages vary in the structure and sophistication of their representations. This means that, for instance, how different languages carve up the world influences not only how their speakers talk about the world, but also how they think about it. The book explores a range of linguistic phenomena, from lexical diversity to linguistic framing to the effects of narrative. As a result of understanding how language shapes our understanding of reality, Enfield argues that we can make more informed—and more ethical—decisions about our own language use, as individuals and communities. Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professo

  • Eliza Jane Smith, "Literary Slumming: Slang and Class in Nineteenth-Century France" (Lexington Books, 2021)

    04/03/2022 Duración: 47min

    Eliza Jane Smith's Literary Slumming: Slang and Class in Nineteenth-Century France (Lexington Books, 2021) applies a sociolinguistic approach to the representation of slang in French literature and dictionaries to reveal the ways in which upper-class writers, lexicographers, literary critics, and bourgeois readers participated in a sociolinguistic concept the author refers to as "literary slumming", or the appropriation of lower-class and criminal language and culture. Through an analysis of spoken and embodied manifestations of the anti-language of slang in the works of Eugène François Vidocq, Honoré de Balzac, Eugène Sue, Victor Hugo, the Goncourt Brothers, and Émile Zola, Literary Slumming argues that the nineteenth-century French literary discourse on slang led to the emergence of this sociolinguistic phenomenon that prioritised lower-class and criminal life and culture in a way that ultimately expanded class boundaries and increased visibility and agency for minorities within the public sphere. Pallavi J

  • Dennis Duncan, "Index, a History of The: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age" (W.W. Norton, 2022)

    02/03/2022 Duración: 01h03min

    Most of us give little thought to the back of the book--it's just where you go to look things up. But as Dennis Duncan reveals in Index, a History of The: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age (W.W. Norton & Company, 2022), hiding in plain sight is an unlikely realm of ambition and obsession, sparring and politicking, pleasure and play. In the pages of the index, we might find Butchers, to be avoided, or Cows that sh-te Fire, or even catch Calvin in his chamber with a Nonne. Here, for the first time, is the secret world of the index: an unsung but extraordinary everyday tool, with an illustrious but little-known past. Charting its curious path from the monasteries and universities of thirteenth-century Europe to Silicon Valley in the twenty-first, Duncan uncovers how it has saved heretics from the stake, kept politicians from high office, and made us all into the readers we are today. We follow it through German print shops and Enlightenment coffee houses, novelists' living rooms a

  • Mary Norris, "Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen" (Norton, 2020)

    22/02/2022 Duración: 01h51s

    Mary Norris, The New Yorker's Comma Queen and best-selling author of Between You & Me, has had a lifelong love affair with words. In Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen (Norton, 2020), she delivers a delightful paean to the art of self-expression through accounts of her solo adventures in the land of olive trees and ouzo. Along the way, Norris explains how the alphabet originated in Greece, makes the case for Athena as a feminist icon, and reveals the surprising ways in which Greek helped form English. Greek to Me is filled with Norris's memorable encounters with Greek words, Greek gods, Greek wine--and more than a few Greek men. William Domnarski is a longtime lawyer who before and during has been a literary guy, with a Ph.D. in English. He's written five books on judges, lawyers, and courts, two with Oxford, one with Illinois, one with Michigan, and one with the American Bar Association. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member! http

  • Tony Veale, "Your Wit Is My Command: Building AIs with a Sense of Humor" (MIT Press, 2021)

    16/02/2022 Duración: 01h05min

    For fans of computers and comedy alike, an accessible and entertaining look into how we can use artificial intelligence to make smart machines funny. Most robots and smart devices are not known for their joke-telling abilities. And yet, as computer scientist Tony Veale explains in Your Wit Is My Command (MIT Press, 2021), machines are not inherently unfunny; they are just programmed that way. By examining the mechanisms of humor and jokes—how jokes actually works—Veale shows that computers can be built with a sense of humor, capable not only of producing a joke but also of appreciating one. Along the way, he explores the humor-generating capacities of fictional robots ranging from B-9 in Lost in Space to TARS in Interstellar, maps out possible scenarios for developing witty robots, and investigates such aspects of humor as puns, sarcasm, and offensiveness. In order for robots to be funny, Veale explains, we need to analyze humor computationally. Using artificial intelligence (AI), Veale shows that joke gener

  • Language Bias: The Last Back Door of Discrimination in America?

    27/01/2022 Duración: 57min

    Hear Dr. Rosina Lippi-Green talk about some of her shocking findings on language discrimination and bias on campus. Lippi-Green and Avi discuss her book English with an Accent: Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the US (Routledge, 2011) and what the academic community can do to be more inclusive of scholars with different levels of English. We also discuss Rosina's transition from researcher to popular novelist. Avi Staiman is the founder and CEO of Academic Language Experts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

  • Nigel A. Caplan, "Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers" (U Michigan Press, 2019)

    26/01/2022 Duración: 01h39min

    Listen to this interview of Nigel Caplan, Associate Professor at the English Language Institute, University of Delaware. We talk generically. Nigel Caplan : "And this sort of brings us to an important point about knowledge and expertise in a discipline. The great genre scholar Doreen Starke-Meyerring said that academic writing tends to be transparent to experts in the discipline, and they forget how opaque it is to novices. So, if you study engineering, biology, philosophy, whatever it is, and you're immersed in that world all the time, it's very easy to believe that that is the only way of writing, because that's the only type of writing you have done for decades. And it quickly becomes, 'Well, that's obviously good writing.' And the idea is, 'Anything else is bad writing.' But experts don't realize what we see as English teachers, especially as teachers in English for Academic Purposes, where we work with students across the disciplines — what we see is that each discipline does have its own way of creating

  • Matthew C. Watson, "Afterlives of Affect: Science, Religion, and an Edgewalker’s Spirit" (Duke UP, 2020)

    21/01/2022 Duración: 01h03min

    In Afterlives of Affect: Science, Religion, and an Edgewalker’s Spirit (Duke UP, 2020), Matthew C. Watson considers the life and work of artist and Mayanist scholar Linda Schele (1942-1998) as a point of departure for what he calls an excitable anthropology. As part of a small collective of scholars who devised the first compelling arguments that Maya hieroglyphs were a fully grammatical writing system, Schele popularized the decipherment of hieroglyphs by developing narratives of Maya politics and religion in popular books and public workshops. In this experimental, person-centered ethnography, Watson shows how Schele’s sense of joyous discovery and affective engagement with research led her to traverse and disrupt borders between religion, science, art, life, death, and history. While acknowledging critiques of Schele’s work and the idea of discovery more generally, Watson contends that affect and wonder should lie at the heart of any reflexive anthropology. With this singular examination of Schele and the

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