Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-266) and index.
People just talk : speech versus writing -- Mere rhetoric : the decline of oratory -- "Got marjoram?" or why I don't have any poetry -- Rather too colloquial for elegance: written English takes it light -- What happened to us? or play that funky music, white folks -- La la la through a new lens : music talks to America.
"In Doing Our Own Thing, linguist and cultural critic John McWhorter traces the precipitous decline of language in contemporary America, arguing persuasively that casual, everyday speech has conquered the formal in all arenas, from oratory to poetry to everyday journalism (and has even had dire consequences for our musical culture). McWhorter argues that the swift and startling change in written and oral communication emanated from the countercultural revolution of the 1960s and its ideology that established forms and formality were autocratic and artificial. While acknowledging that the evolution of language is, in and of itself, inevitable and often benign, McWhorter warns that the near-total loss of formal expression in America is unprecedented in modern history and has reached a crisis point in our culture in which our very ability to convey ideas and arguments effectively is gravely threatened."--BOOK JACKET.