“Guardians of the language”

Who are the guardians of the English language, and why do they have so much authority? Why are their books so popular, and what are they expecting to gain by it all?

These are some of the questions that Flor Aarts asked in his farewell lecture at the University of Nijmegen on 9 September 1994. These are also questions we are seeking to answer in this blog.

So who are these guardians of the language, and why are their publications – usage guides primarily – increasingly popular, even today, nearly twenty years after Flor Aarts’s farewell lecture? Or is it the case that usage guides are bought only, but not used?

And another question is whether usage guides are a popular phenomenon only in the Engish language domain. Or do we find them in other languages as well?

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