LINGUIST List 31.3493

Thu Nov 12 2020

Books: On the Offensive: Stollznow

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 04-Nov-2020
From: Rachel Tonkin <>
Subject: On the Offensive: Stollznow
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Title: On the Offensive
Subtitle: Prejudice in Language Past and Present
Published: 2020
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Karen Stollznow
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108791786 Pages: 322 Price: U.S. $ 15.95
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108857383 Pages: 322 Price: U.S. $ 13.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108791786 Pages: 322 Price: U.K. £ 11.99

I'm not a racist, but… You look good, for your age… She was asking for it… You're crazy… That's so gay… Have you ever wondered why certain language has the power to offend? It is often difficult to recognize the veiled racism, sexism, ageism (and other –isms) that hide in our everyday discourse. This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age. Drawing on hot button topics and real-life case studies, and delving into the history of offensive terms, a vivid picture of modern discrimination in language emerges. By identifying offensive language, both overt and hidden, past and present, we uncover vast amounts about our own attitudes, beliefs and values and reveal exactly how and why words can offend.

Introduction. You can't say anything these days
1. I'm not a racist, but…
2. Boys will be boys
3. Not that there's anything wrong with that
4. Don't be a Jew
5. That's crazy
6. Hit by the ugly stick
7. God's waiting room
Conclusion. Walk a mile in someone's shoes.

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 12-Nov-2020