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Language Interrupted – Signs of Non-Native Acquisition in Standard Language Grammars - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Language Interrupted: Signs of Non-Native Acquisition in Standard Language Grammars

John McWhorter


Foreigners often say that the English language is “easy”. A language like Spanish is challenging in its variety of verb endings and gender for nouns, whereas English is more straightforward. But linguists generally deny claims that certain languages are ‘easier’ than others, since it is assumed that all languages are complex to the same degree. For example, they will point to English's use of the word “do” — Do you know French? This usage is counter-intuitive and difficult for non-native speakers. This book agrees that all languages are complex, but questions whether or not they are all equall ... More

Keywords: language complexity, creole, language contact, historical linguistics, pidgin, English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Persian, Malay

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780195309805
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309805.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John McWhorter, author
University of California, Berkeley

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