Tag Archives: David Crystal

More usage guides in 2014?

The present year promises to be a good year for usage guides. Later this month, Rebecca Gowers’s new edition of her great-grandfather’s Plain Words will be published, an e-version of David Crystal’s Who Cares about English Usage will come out, … Continue reading

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The history of txt spk and Queen Victoria

For years the language of instant messaging or text speak (txt spk) has been targeted in the popular media as hard evidence of the ongoing decline in literacy. In 2003, The Daily Telegraph published an article about a 13-year-old girl who … Continue reading

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Prescriptivism and the curriculum in UK schools

Is prescriptivism being reintroduced into the English educational system? This is a topic that hit the news a year ago, and is keeping teachers and politicians still very much occupied – and concerned – today. So much so that Charlotte Brewer … Continue reading

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David Crystal and the history of English spelling, or how the Internet is killing off silent letters

The Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, which is held annually in Wales, was a prolific place this year for discussions about language use. Professor David Crystal gave a wonderfully engaging talk at the event, presenting his latest book Spell … Continue reading

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Grammar: Days and Tests

Earlier this month, March fourth to be precise, National Grammar Day was celebrated in the U.S. I like to think was the impetus for many dinners of punctuation-meatloaf (or walnut loaf for the veggie punctuation partiers among us). The day … Continue reading

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Donna and the Oxford Comma

During a British Academy lecture in 2011, David Crystal mentioned that language was rarely the object of a work of art. Well, here is a work of art created by Donna Piët for an exhibition called “Een Poging tot Nieuwe … Continue reading

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English Language Usage on Facebook – Survey

In the beginning of the last century, some notable linguists and scholars, George Philip Krapp, Sterling Leonard, and Fred Walcott, to name a few, expressed their cogent views on the relativity of linguistic correctness. Correct language is not something absolute, … Continue reading

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22 April: ‘Modern English Usage’-day

Today, 22 April 2012, is Modern English Usage day: according to Jenny McMorris, in her biography of H.W. Fowler called The Warden of English (OUP 2001), Modern English Usage was published on 22 April 1926. The Warden of English is a fantastic book to read, written in … Continue reading

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The “split infinitive syndrome”

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The quotation in this title is from an article by David Crystal on the split infinitive which appeared in English Today in 1985. It was taken from a book by Robert Burchfield, The English Language, which had come out that … Continue reading

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