John McWhorter

John McWhorter

John Hamilton McWhorter V (1965- ) is an American linguist and political commentator. He held the position of American associate professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley from 1995 until 2003. He took a leave from the position in 2002 to become a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, and a columnist for the "New York Sun". He is the author of a number of books on language and on race relations. His linguistic specialty is creole and the process through which it forms.


McWhorter was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. He attended Friends Select School (a Quaker school in Philadelphia), and after tenth grade was accepted to Simon's Rock College, where he earned an A.A degree. Later, he attended Rutgers University and got there a B.A. degree in French in 1985. He received a master's degree in American Studies from New York University and a Ph.D. in linguistics in 1993 from Stanford University. After graduation he was an associate professor of linguistics at Cornell University before taking up in 1995 a position at University of California, Berkeley.

He has published a number of books on linguistics and on race relations and makes regular public radio and television appearances on related subjects. He has spoken many times on National Public Radio and is an occasional contributor on He has appeared twice on "", once in the profanity episode in his capacity as a linguistics professor, and again in the slavery reparations episode for his political views and knowledge of race relations. He is also the author of a course on "The Story of Human Language" for The Teaching Company. His 2003 "Authentically Black" has been interview-reviewed on "".cite web | url= | title=Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority | publisher= [ Booknotes] | date=2003-03-02 | accessdate=2008-10-07 | last=Lamb | first=Bryan]



* 1997: "Towards a New Model of Creole Genesis" ISBN 0820433128
* 1998: "Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of "Pure" Standard English" ISBN 0738204463
* 2000: "The Missing Spanish Creoles: Recovering the Birth of Plantation Contact Languages" ISBN 0520219996
* 2000: "Spreading the Word : Language and Dialect in America" ISBN 0325001987
* 2000: "Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America"
* 2001: "The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language" ISBN 006052085X
* 2003: "Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority"
* 2003: "Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care" ISBN 1592400167
* 2005: "Defining Creole" ISBN 0195166698
* 2005: "Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America"
* 2007: "Language Interrupted: Signs of Non-Native Acquisition in Standard Language Grammars"
* 2008: "All about the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can't Save Black America" ISBN 1592403743

External links

* [ Biography at Manhattan Institute]
* [ "New York Sun" columns]
* [ Affirmative Action at Berkeley] article, debate on affirmative action
* [ Excerpt: Losing The Race, Self-Sabotage In Black America] published in The Abolitionist Examiner
* [ "" article about Black culture identity]
* [,%20John Video interviews and discussions with McWhorter] on
* [,0,3772358.story Latimes review of "All about the Beat"]

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