Author Archives: Robin Straaijer

About Robin Straaijer

I am a linguist working on English prescriptivism and Standard English at Leiden University. Lover of photography and comedy.

What makes a usage guide? (part 2)

A little over a month ago, I posted a survey on this blog, asking you which genres you think usage guides are most closely related to: dictionaries, spelling/punctuation guides, descriptive grammars, popular writing on language, handbooks on writing or style guides. It appears … Continue reading

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New English Today, new Feature!

Another chance to get involved in our project! The latest issue of English Today is out now and it contains another feature article from this project. In this feature I ask the following questions about how linguists should engage with the … Continue reading

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Pedants and Perpetrators: or, language, power and the dangers of simplificitation

Yesterday, the website of The Guardian posted an article on the members of the Idler Academy’s Bad Grammar Awards‘ shortlist. The bad grammar perpetrated by those on the shortlist contained a number of the ‘old chestnuts’ such as the use of … Continue reading

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What makes a usage guide? 

During the construction of the HUGE database, I have been thinking about the genre of usage guides a lot for the simple, practical purpose of determining which titles would be put in the database, and which would not. Edmund Weiner asked … Continue reading

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English Usage (Guides) Symposium: registration

The page for the English Usage (Guides) Symposium at the University of Cambridge (see the above menu bar) provides the programme, abstracts and information on how to register. Registration can also be done here. The fee for the Symposium is £30 only: don’t wait too long before … Continue reading

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These are literally my favourite expressions

I think we all have our opinions about the use of the word literally as an intensifier in expressions where it doesn’t literally mean literally. Personally, it doesn’t usually bother me, so for me there is hardly an ‘incorrect’ use … Continue reading

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update About page

It was long overdue, but we’ve updated the About page. It now also features our new project assistent Inge Otto, whose post you will have already seen come by if you regularly visit this site. Inge joined the project in September … Continue reading

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Attitudes to usage: a thought experiment

Imagine you’re sitting at a big table as part of a large group of people. It could be a cafe, it could be a restaurant, it could be a meeting at work. Some of the people at the table are … Continue reading

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Art

I decided that the project Bridging the Unbridgeable needed some art to use on publicised materials, so I came up with the following image, using a Bananagrams game and my coffee table top for a background.My English-language Scrabble set led … Continue reading

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Favourite language blogs (results)

The what-are-your-favourite-language-blogs poll posted in June is now closed. Surprisingly, a little more than half of the answers were given as write-ins in the option ‘other’. Here are the results. First, a thank-you to those who voted for this blog, we’re very … Continue reading

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