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TV Talk Too Terse

Michael Liberman

The average 18-year-old in the USA has already watched about eighteen thousand hours of television. This exposure (more than the total time spent in school) must be of enormous influence on morals, on emotions, on the imagination, on breadth and depth of knowledge, on aesthetic judgement, and on language. Tracing TV's influence on language, my primary interest, requires that we have some sort of base-line - we need to know exactly what sort of language is used on TV. I have begun this quest for a beginning point, and I think the analysis here will give teachers an idea of what they have to transcend in their endeavours to make children's lives fuller, more meaningful, and linguistically richer.

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