Category Archives: Uncategorized

First usage guides

Within this project, we’ve focused on English, and started our research on the history of the tradition from the first usage guide believed to have been published, Robert Baker’s Reflections on the English Language, from 1770. Inspired by this, I … Continue reading

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The first Dutch usage guide?!

For a paper I’m giving later this month, I was looking for the beginning of the Dutch usage guide tradition, and in particular for the first usage guide to have been published. Not every book on language qualifies as a … Continue reading

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Is there a German complaint tradition?

Milroy and Milroy, in Authority in Language (first published in 1985, but with a fourth edition in 2012), argue that English has a complaint tradition, with people writing Letters to the Editor about linguistic problems they encounter and usage guides … Continue reading

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The work of copy-editors

Today, 10 December 2021, Morana Lukač and Adrian Stenton, both of them working within the context of the (former) Bridging the Unbridgeable project, will be giving the final talk this calendar year of the LUCL Sociolinguistics Series, from 4 pm … 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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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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