Category Archives: MA Leiden

No complaint tradition in The Netherlands? (ctd.)

I’m teaching another MA course on prescriptivism this semester, this time with the general research question as to how much of what is in the English usage guides reflects non-standard language use. All students in the course are once again … Continue reading

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How do sticklers react to linguistic findings?

Here is Lingyun Lai’s second blogpost: Sometimes, grammar handbooks and usage guides address similar usage issues, but their conclusions are not always the same. Nowadays, quite a few grammar references are based on corpus linguistics, and many such descriptive findings disaffirm … Continue reading

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Forever dangling? The unstoppable dangling participle under scrutiny

Here is Ina Huttenga’s second blog post: The dangling participle is a pervasive structure in the English language. These “misrelated” modifiers have been used throughout English language history, but they seem to have become problems only recently, in the 20th … Continue reading

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Write it Right: A very pedantic usage guide

Here is Madeleine Ibes’s second blog post: Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) was an American short story author, journalist and satirist who authored books like The Devil’s Dictionary (1906/1909), which contained definitions like this one for grammar: “A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for … Continue reading

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Seeing usage problems around every corner!

Here is Bram Steijn‘s second blog post for the MA course Testing Prescriptivism:  I was sitting in the train, checking my Facebook messages, when I stumbled upon the following mistake in someone’s profile text: “living life at full”. The person … Continue reading

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Attitudes in prescriptivism: a new word for “stickler”?

Lonneke van Leest-Kootkar’s first blogpost is about sticklers and the rest of the prescriptive bunch: Sticklers, pedants, pundits and purists: these are only a couple of terms to describe those prescriptivists who have the tendency to get worked up about … Continue reading

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A problem with soaring acceptance rates

Below follows Lingyun Lai’s first blogpost: Since Mittins et al., in their book Attitudes to English usage, reported an overall acceptability of 50 English usage items in 1970, no systematic replication research had been conducted, until, from 2011 onwards, the Bridging … Continue reading

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