Author Archives: Ingrid Tieken

Geoffrey Nunberg, Robert Lowth and punctuation theory

Working on the punctuation practice of 18th-century letter writers, I was intrigued by the title of Geoffrey Nunberg‘s book, The Linguistics of Punctuation (1990). The book didn’t have what I was looking for, was in fact more about developing a … Continue reading

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Language columns in major newspapers

It’s great to come across language columns in newspapers like The Economist and, more recently, the New York Times. It is even greater if they deal with aspects of prescriptivism, and linguists’ as well as the general public’s reactions to … Continue reading

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Roadkill’s scriptwriters

For a paper I’m writing on the use of who/whom I’m trying to get in touch with the scriptwriters of Roadkill, a British political thriller series that was broadcast in the UK and the US towards the end of 2020 … Continue reading

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Le Carré’s main character spinning in his grave

Reading another spy novel by John Le Carré, this time Absolute Friends (2003), I didn’t expect to come across any metalinguistic comments relating to prescriptivism since most of the novel is situated in Germany. But I did find this absolute … Continue reading

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Pronouncing prescient properly

Watching the new Netflix series The Chair, I was struck by two metalinguistic comments, both made by the main character Professor Ji-Yoon Kim, chair of the English department, who consequently comes across as being a bit of a pedant. The … Continue reading

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The pedant in him …

… is sparked off by spotting an exclamation mark where a question would normally be expected. Or actually, by the vacuousness of the contents of the welcoming message found when booking into his hotel room. All this is part of … Continue reading

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The project continues …

The Bridging the Unbridgeable project officially ended nearly five years ago, but almost all of us are presenting a paper at the next Prescriptivism Conference, held online (no fee!) at the University of Vigo from 23 – 25 September 2021. … Continue reading

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Is whilst superseding while? But is it?

Reading the work of my younger academic colleagues, I get the feeling that whilst is making a comeback. Why would that be the case? Strangely though, I don’t see this perceived increased frequency reflected in usage as we can access … Continue reading

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Owners of a copy of Lowth’s grammar (1762)

I expect readers of this blog will also be interested in the grammar by Robert Lowth (1762 and many later editions). And if so, does any of you possess an original copy, from whatever date? If you do, please help … Continue reading

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Twitter hashtag #usanall

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