Vernacular Eloquence What Speech Can Bring to Writing

ISBN-10: 0199782512

ISBN-13: 9780199782512

Edition: 2011

Authors: Peter Elbow

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With the publication of his groundbreaking booksWriting Without TeachersandWriting with Power, Peter Elbow has revolutionized the way we think about writing. As a theorist, teacher, and uncommonly engaging writer himself, he has long championed our innate ability to write effectively. Now, inVernacular Eloquence, Elbow turns his attention to the role of the spoken word in writing. He begins by questioning the basic cultural assumption that speaking and writing are two very different, incompatible modes of expression, and that we should keep them separate. The book explores the many linguistic and rhetorical virtues of speech--spontaneity, naturalness of expression, fluidity of thought--to show that many of these virtues can usefully be brought to writing. Elbow suggests that we begin the writing process by "speaking" our words onto the page, letting the words and ideas flow without struggling to be "correct." Speaking can help us at the later stages of writing, too, as we read drafts aloud and then revise until the language feels right in the mouth and sounds right in the ear. The result is stronger, clearer, more natural writing that avoids the stilted, worried-over quality that so often alienates (and bores) the reader. Elbow connects these practices to a larger theoretical discussion of literacy in our culture, arguing that our rules for correct writing make it harder than necessary to write well. In particular, our culture's conception of proper writing devalues the human voice, the body, and the linguistic power of people without privilege. Written with Elbow's customary verve and insight,Vernacular Eloquenceshows how to bring the pleasures we all enjoy in speaking to the all-too-often needlessly arduous task of writing.
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Book details

List price: $19.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 1/13/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 456
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Introduction to the Book
What's Best in Speaking and Writing?
Introduction: "Speech" and "Writing"
Speaking and Writing as They are Used: The Role of Culture
Literacy Story: Three Basic Systems for Written Language
What's Good about Writing
Literacy Story: The Development of Alphabetic Writing in the Middle East
Speaking as a Process: What Can It Offer Writing?
Literacy Story: The Rebus
Speech as a Product: Nine Virtues in Careless Unplanned Spoken Language that Can Significantly Improve Careful Writing
Literacy Story: How We Got Spaces between Our Words
Intonation: A Virtue for Writing at the Root of Everyday Speech
Literacy Story: How Charlemagne and Alcuin Robbed Latin of Its Name
Can We Really Have the Best of Both Worlds?
Literacy Story: Two Stories of How Early Standard English Was Born
Speaking onto the Page: A Role for the Tongue in the Early Stages of Writing
Introduction: Speaking and Writing as Mental Activities
What Is Speaking onto the Page and How Does Freewriting Teach It?
Literacy Story: The Linguistic Brightness of the So-called Dark Ages
Where Else Do We See Unplanned Speaking onto the Page?
Literacy Story: Another Successful Rhetorician in the Court of Queen Isabella
Considering Objections to Speaking onto the Page
Literacy Story: Everyone Complains about Language, but No One Does Anything about It-Except Now and Then
The Need for Care: Easy Speaking onto the Page Is Never Enough
Literacy Story: An Example of a Collage from The New Yorker (July 5, 1982)
Reading Aloud to Revise: A Role for the Tongue during Late Stages of Writing
Introduction: What Is Standard English?
Revising by Reading Aloud: What the Mouth and Ear Know
Literacy Story: Syllabaries and Sequoyah's Invention in Arkansas in 1820
How Does Revising by Reading Aloud Actually Work?
Literacy Story: When They Stopped Teaching Grammar
Punctuation: Living with Two Traditions
Literacy Story: The Rule about That and Which
Good Enough Punctuation by Careful Reading Aloud and Listening
Literacy Story: Languages Dying and Being Reborn
How Speech Can Improve the Organization of Writing: Form as Energy
Literacy Story: Three Countries with Competing Official Written Languages
Summary Chapter: The Benefits of Speaking onto the Page and Reading Aloud
Literacy Story: Chairman Mao Tries to Make Literacy More Available to the Chinese
Vernacular Literacy
Introduction: Dante's Vulgar Eloquence
How Our Culture of Proper Literacy Tries to Exclude Speech
Literacy Story: Illegal Alphabets
A New Culture of Vernacular Literacy on the Horizon
How Freewriting Went from Dangerous to No Big Deal in the Composition and Rhetoric Community
A Sampling of Published Writing in Non-Mainstream Varieties of English
Works Cited
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