Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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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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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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Just out!

For all those interested in the relationship between usage, usage guides and linguistic norms, this book has just come out. With warmest thanks to the editors Luisella Caon, Marion Elenbaas and Janet Grijzenhout, as well as to all contributing authors: … Continue reading

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A new “feature” on this blog by Paul Nance

Paul Nance is a regular contributor to this blog. This time, he has written a great piece on metalinguistic comments in detective novels by Rex Stout (1886-1975). Enjoy reading it!

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On (mis)pronunciation

On 8 July I wrote a post on a piece on irregardless in the UK Guardian newspaper, not because of the piece itself, but because it generated 327 responses from readers. This, I now realise, was small fry. A piece on … Continue reading

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