Search Results for: amis

A postdating for the OED – with thanks to Kingsley Amis

What other words are there for stickler, pedant or pundit, Lonneke van Leest-Kootkar asked in a blogpost last year. Rebecca Gowers, in Horrible Words (2016), chose to use the word griper instead of stickler (a word I will always associate with Lynne Truss). … Continue reading

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You guys, you all and Kingsley Amis

When we were living in Cambridge, two years ago, I was struck by the pervasiveness of you guys as a plural pronoun. It is not as if it was new to me: in my history of the language lectures I … Continue reading

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New edition of The King’s English by Kingsley Amis

The title of this usage guide was obviously inspired by its famous ancestor published in 1881, by George Washington Moon. As for the title of Amis’s book, being called “the King” was “a nickname he tolerated”, according to his son … Continue reading

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Language and social class?

Yesterday, the Guardian posted a call asking readers to express their personal thoughts on what the terms “working class” and “middle class” actually mean. These are terms well-known from sociolinguistics, so I’ll be curious to so how readers will respond. … Continue reading

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Breaking the who/whom rule in English literature

For a paper I’m planning to write on the breaking of prescriptive rules by literary authors for characterisation purposes, I’m looking for specific examples of the breaking of the who/whom rule. I have several examples of them already, and have … Continue reading

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George Smiley a prescriptivist?

Eighteen months or so ago I wrote a post about John le Carré, because I’d discovered that, like Kingsley Amis, Len Deighton and Ian McEwan, he too writes metalinguistic usage comments in his novels. My post then was about a … Continue reading

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Even John le Carré has them

Metalinguistic comments that is, as in the novels of Kingsley Amis, Len Deighton and Ian McEwan. Reading A Most Wanted Man (2008), I came across several references to accent but also one to who/whom: But for how long? And from who? … Continue reading

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Well, up to a point, Lord Copper!

I can’t even read read a Raymond Chandler novel without a pencil, I told Carol Percy when she was interviewing me for the Journal of English Linguistics (to appear in December this year). It is the fate of the linguist, … Continue reading

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2016/12 Prescriptivism in English literature?

Here is the last feature by a member of our project in the new issue of English Today. It is republished on this blog with permission from Cambridge University Press, which owns the copyright to this piece. The original is available at Cambridge Journals Online. To … Continue reading

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Taggart vs. Pinker: and the winner is …

I’d really like to be able to find out how well “our” usage guides, those in the HUGE database that is, have been selling over the years. This is confidential information, I was recently told by the firm handling the estate of … Continue reading

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