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100 Things You Need to Know to Make Language Work for You

From the minute you wake up until the time you fall asleep, you use language.  This book will show you how language functions, and how to make it work better for you.  I explain 100 ways that you can use language more effectively in your everyday life.  The book covers a wide range of real-world language topics, including the following and much more:

  • How to use language more effectively in your business and personal life

  • The differences between men’s and women’s language

  • Understanding how politicians and the news spin language

  • How your children’s language should develop, and what to do if there are problems

  • Helping your children learn how to read

  • How language can go wrong after a stroke, or as we grow older


I cover each language topic in a clear and easy-to-understand manner which assumes no previous knowledge. Each topic is introduced by a question you might be wondering about (What kinds of language tricks do salespeople use to get me to buy things?).  The reader-friendly answers are given in short 2-4 page descriptions, with a quick summary at the end.  Many sections have brief quizzes or tasks to check how much you know about language and how well you are using it.  Each topic also has suggestions for interesting Internet websites to check for more information.

Language is fascinating, and this book shows you some of its details that only experts had access to before.

Here is the Table of Contents which show the range of topics included in the book:

1  Introduction

1. Everyone uses language: Knowing how it works can give you an edge

2. English in today’s world

3. Languages in the United States


2  Language and Persuasion: Getting What You Want and Need

4.  How can I be more persuasive with my language?

5.  Body language

6. How can I be a better communicator with the people I manage?

7. How can I use language more effectively in meetings?

8. How can I give a positive job interview?

9. Public speaking

10. Giving effective PowerPoint presentations

11. How to write an effective letter of complaint

12. Why can’t people just use plain English?

13. How does advertising use language to persuade people to buy?

14. Understanding misleading advertising claims

15. Salespeople’s tactics and language tricks

16. Talking with your doctor: Getting and giving the information you need

17. Understanding doctor-patient consultations

18. Asking for advice from online support groups

19. Persuasion at university: What makes language ‘academic’?

20. The GRE graduate school exam: Language is the key


3  Language and Gender: Communicating with the Other Sex

21. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus:  Are men and women really so different?

22. Gender differences in language use 

23. The language of dating and flirting 

24. How does gender play out in workplace communication?

25. Political correctness and gender bias words 

26. How do children learn gender-related language?

27. How does children’s advertising affect their gender development?


4  Watch out for Language Manipulators: The Media and Politicians

28. Understanding media bias

29. Comparing broadsheet vs. tabloid newspapers

30. Headline games

31. Going viral: Blogs, tweets, and Internet pages

32.  Politics on talk shows: from Oprah Winfrey to Rush Limbaugh

33.  Politicians and language

34.  Politicians: Spinning language

35.  Politicians: Answering questions (or not)

36.  Politicians: Selling war

37. The art of smear: naming-calling, lies, and innuendo


5  The Language of Texting, Computers, and the Internet

38. Written language: The explosion of texting

39. Is texting ruining our language?

40. Is texting real language?

41. Spellcheckers and your spelling

42. Computer gaming: Are there any language benefits?

6  How Young Children Learn Their Mother Tongue: Is My Child Learning Normally or are There Problems?

43. How should I expect my child’s language to develop?

44. How do I know if my child’s language is not developing normally?

45. What can I do as a parent to facilitate my child’s language learning?

46. How can I raise my child bilingually?

47. What happens when children are not exposed to language? The case of Genie


7  Learning to Read and Write (Literacy): How Can My Child Best Learn?

48. Learning to read: What is important?

49. What are the stages of learning to read?

50. How can I encourage my child to read for pleasure?

51. Talking to your child’s teacher about reading: What’s Important?

52. How much vocabulary does it take to read?

53. How can I encourage my child to write? Creative writing for pleasure

54. Teen Talk: The doom of language or its future?


8  What are the Best Ways to Learn a Second Language?

55. What are some important principles for learning a second language?

56. Do I need to have a special language aptitude to learn a second language?

57. Is there an age after which it is very difficult to learn a second language?

58. Should my child learn a second language?

59. Learning a second language will help your children in many ways

60. At what age should second language teaching start in schools: Is earlier always better?

61. The Problems of Immersing Children with English as a Second Language in English-only School Systems

62. Should I learn with a teacher in a class, or with a computerized program?

63. Which are the easiest languages for English speakers to learn? How long does it take to learn them?

64. Cramming for Language Tests: A Waste of Time?


9  Language Problems from Aging, Accident, and Illness: What Happens When Language Goes Wrong or Is Lost?

65. Tip of the Tongue, Slip of the Tongue, and Slip of the Ear:  Am I losing my language?

66. Autism: What is it, how do I check for it, and how does it affect language?

67. Dyslexia: Problems with reading and spelling

68. Testing for dyslexia: Might my child (or I) be dyslexic?

69. Losing language because of stroke or injury: Aphasia    

70. Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease 1: Losing your mental abilities

71. Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease 2: Losing your language


10  Language for Special Purposes

72. CSI language: Solving crimes and catching criminals with Forensic Linguistics

73. The language of flying: Aviation English

74. Enjoying reading and poetry more: How authors use language to interest you

75. The language of humor

11  How is English Put Together?  The Grammar and Vocabulary of Good English

76. How has English changed over time? Is it still changing?

77. Why are there so many exceptions and irregularities in English?

78. I can’t explain English grammar at all.  Does that mean I have poor grammar?

79. Who decides what ‘good’ grammar is?

80. The vocabulary of a language is more than just the words in a dictionary

81. How many words do you know?

82. How many words are necessary to use English well?

83. New words in English

84. Slang

85. Swear words (Taboo words)

86. The power of big and small words

87. Sign language


12  Language Myths, Interesting Language Facts, and Language Trivia

88. Language Myth #1: Language is going to the dogs

89. Language Myth #2: People should be straight talkers and just say what they think

90. Language Myth #3: Some languages are more polite than others

91. Language Myth #4: People from some parts of the country speak bad English

92. Language Myth #5: I speak with bad grammar

93. Language Myth #6: Animals have language. Really?

94. Language is Never Completely Lost

95. Who owns English now?  Everyone!  

96. Are people forgetting punctuation? How good is yours?

97. Is there really a language gene?

98. The Inuit and many words for snow: Does language affect the way we think?

99. Language trivia Quiz #1

100. Language trivia Quiz #2

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