My new book came out in October 2023. Aimed at a general audience, it explores the link between spoken language and identity. It’s called You’re All Talk: Why we are what we speak and it’s published by Scribe.
From the publisher’s website:
Why do we have different accents and where do they come from? Why do you say ‘tomayto’ and I say ‘tomahto’? And is one way of speaking better than another?
In You’re All Talk, linguist Rob Drummond explores the enormous diversity in how language is spoken to reveal extraordinary insights into how humans operate: how we perceive (and judge) other people and how we would like ourselves to be perceived. He investigates how and why we automatically associate different accents with particular social characteristics — degrees of friendliness, authority, social class, level of education, race, and so on — and how we, consciously or subconsciously, change the way we speak in order to create different versions of ourselves to fit different environments.
Ultimately, You’re All Talk demonstrates the beauty of linguistic diversity and how embracing it can give us a better understanding of other people — and ourselves.
‘A telling and compelling exploration of spoken English, charting the joys and risks of individual accents, and why we perceive them the way we do. Through a mix of history, anecdotes, and topical examples, Drummond brings light and humour into a gnarly subject that affects every one of us.’
– Susie Dent, author of Word Perfect
‘Rob Drummond has achieved something very special in this book ? an account of accents and identity that reaches across the generations, from concerned oldie to innovative TikToker, and shows how a sociolinguistic perspective can help reduce the anxieties and tensions that so often surround this topic. He writes: “the world would be a better place if people knew just a bit more about how we communicate”. I’m in no doubt that You’re All Talk, with its humour, clarity, and breadth of illustration, will help make that happen.’
– David Crystal, author of How Language Works
‘Rob Drummond is a brilliant tour guide around the endless labyrinths of the way we speak; in this book he hosts the talk show of our lives, ensuring that we listen hard to ourselves and everybody else.’
– Ian McMillan
‘For years, working exclusively in radio, my voice was my whole professional self. It is still vastly important now. With a voice ? an accent ? like mine, I suspect a career in news broadcasting would have been almost impossible a generation or two ago. In a fortunate twist of timing, as minds have broadened, I suspect it’s actually been an advantage to me and helped me stand out.
I am fascinated by accents ? and all the perceptions they haul around with them. This is a brilliantly written analysis. It is warm and human in tone. Rob wears his vast expertise lightly, meaning the lay reader is engaged, informed, and entertained in equal measures. I’d thoroughly recommend it.’
– Chris Mason, BBC Political Editor
‘We are what we say ? and Rob Drummond’s intriguing and engaging book proves it.’
– Gyles Brandreth, author of Word Play