How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
This book questions assumptions about the nature of language. Looking at diverse contexts from sign languages in Indonesia to literacy practices in Brazil, the authors argue that unless we change and reconstitute the ways in which languages are taught and conceptualized, language studies will not be able to improve the social welfare of language users.