This book is about language, but let’s begin with a bit of science fiction.
Imagine the following: On January 1 of the next new year, each person residing in the United States wakes up to find themselves physically transformed: regardless of race or ethnicity, all adult males 18 and older will be exactly 6′ tall and weigh 175 pounds; adult females, 5’9″, at 140 pounds. All persons will show exactly the same physical measurements (length of tibia, diameter of wrist) and body fat ratios, with a differential arising from gender-specific roles in the propagation of the species. All persons newborn through age 17 will approach the adult model on a scale graduated exactly to age. Metabolism has adjusted so that the ratios of height to weight are maintained regardless of diet or development of musculature.
Let’s take this strange idea a step further and imagine what this revolution would mean to us in our day-to-day lives. Some of the repercussions might be seen as positive: Tremendous behavior shifts in matters of mate selection and sexuality. Every woman will wear what is now a size ten, but as sizes are no longer relevant or meaningful, the social connotations of clothing sizes (petite or queen, extra tall, extra long, extra broad, extra narrow) will quickly be lost. The end of the diet industry. Sudden resolution of health problems related to weight. Heart disease, hypertension, anorexia – a whole range of diffi cult health problems greatly simplifi ed or resolved overnight. […]
Click on the cover image to download a pdf of the whole introduction.
“This second edition of English with an Accent exceeds the high standard of research excellence that Lippi-Green first displayed in 1997. This new book introduces keen insights about language, justice, discrimination, and the human condition in America.”
Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts and Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis, USA