More linguistic interest in prescriptivism?

Whether more linguists are getting interested in prescriptivism is hard to say as I have no baseline data so to speak. But during the Helsinki Corpus Festival the term prescriptivism occurred quite a number of times.

To begin with, there was the paper I myself jointly presented with Ulrich Busse (Halle), called “Towards a Corpus of Prescriptivism”. In effect, this paper was the first international announcement of the project “Bridging the Unbridgeable” (see About this Blog in the header above). It was gratifying to see that the project was welcomed with a great deal of enthousiasm.

In addition, there were the various papers already commented on in this blog during the past few days, for which see the posts “Phrasal verbs and informal usage”, “A which hunt” and “Loss of the passive”, but there was also the paper by Lieselotte Anderwald (Kiel). In her paper called “Dove, pled, shrunk: The evolution of American English in the 19th century”, she argued among other things that there was no difference in prescriptivism between British and American English grammars on the subject of a preference for the u or the a forms in past tense/past participle verbs of the type sing and sling.

Due to the number of parallel sessions, I can only report on the papers I actually attended , so there may well have been more. For all that, all this suggests that prescriptivism is now firmly on the linguistic agenda. Further reports of linguistic interest in prescriptivism are therefore invited.

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