29 Facts About John McWhorter


John Hamilton McWhorter V is an American linguist with a specialty in creole languages, sociolects, and Black English.

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John McWhorter is currently associate professor of linguistics at Columbia University, where he teaches American studies and music history.

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John McWhorter has authored books on race relations and African-American culture.

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John McWhorter's father, John Hamilton McWhorter IV, was a college administrator, and his mother, Schelysture Gordon McWhorter, taught social work at Temple University.

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John McWhorter attended Friends Select School in Philadelphia and after tenth grade was accepted to Simon's Rock College where he earned an AA degree.

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John McWhorter obtained an MA degree in American Studies from New York University and a PhD degree in Linguistics in 1993 from Stanford University.

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John McWhorter was an associate professor of linguistics at Cornell University from 1993 to 1995, then an associate professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1995 until 2003.

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John McWhorter left that position to become a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank.

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John McWhorter has written for Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Politico, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Daily News, City Journal, The New York Sun, The New Yorker, The Root, The Daily Beast, and CNN.

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John McWhorter is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and, after writing op-eds for The New York Times for several years, became an Opinion columnist there in 2021.

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John McWhorter was contributing editor at The New Republic from 2001 to 2014.

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John McWhorter has published a number of books on linguistics and on race relations, including Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English, Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why You Should, Like, Care, and Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America.

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John McWhorter's work has expanded to a general investigation of the effect of second-language acquisition on a language.

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John McWhorter argues that languages naturally tend toward complexity and irregularity, a tendency that is reversed only by adults acquiring the language, and creole formation is simply an extreme example of the latter.

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John McWhorter has outlined his ideas in academic format in Language Interrupted and Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity and, for the general public, in What Language Is and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue.

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John McWhorter has been a proponent of a theory that various languages on the island of Flores underwent transformation because of aggressive migrations from the nearby island of Sulawesi, and he has contended that English was influenced by the Celtic languages spoken by the indigenous population and which were then encountered by the Germanic invaders of Britain.

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John McWhorter has written various articles that argue that colloquial constructions, such as the modern uses of "like" and "totally", and other non-standard speech should be considered alternative renditions of English rather than degraded ones.

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In January 2017, John McWhorter was a speaker in the Linguistic Society of America's inaugural Public Lectures on Language series.

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John McWhorter is proficient in French and Spanish, reads Russian well, and has some competence in several other languages.

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John McWhorter plays the piano and has appeared in musical theater productions.

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John McWhorter has criticized left-wing and activist educators in particular, such as Paulo Freire and Jonathan Kozol.

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John McWhorter believes that affirmative action should be based on class rather than race.

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John McWhorter clarified his views in an article in The Washington Post.

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John McWhorter has posited that anti-racism has become as harmful in the United States as racism itself.

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John McWhorter has criticized the term "microaggression", as well as what he regards as the overly casual conflation of racial bias with white supremacy.

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John McWhorter has argued that software algorithms, by themselves, cannot be racist since, unlike humans, they lack intention.

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John McWhorter likens the books White Fragility, How to Be an Antiracist and Between the World and Me to sacred religious texts.

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John McWhorter argues that this hypothesized status as a religion explains the behavior of its adherents, whom he calls "the Elect".

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John McWhorter advises that since the faith, being a faith, is not open to discussion, arguments with its adherents should be avoided in favor of pragmatic action against racism.

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