I can’t even read read a Raymond Chandler novel without a pencil, I told Carol Percy when she was interviewing me for the Journal of English Linguistics (to appear in December this year). It is the fate of the linguist, … Continue reading
What other words are there for stickler, pedant or pundit, Lonneke van Leest-Kootkar asked in a blogpost last year. Rebecca Gowers, in Horrible Words (2016), chose to use the word griper instead of stickler (a word I will always associate with Lynne Truss). … Continue reading
I’ve just finished another of Kingsley Amis’s novels, a children’s book called We are all guilty (1991). Kingsley Amis (1922-1995) also wrote a usage guide, The King’s English, which was published two years after his death. Amis’s fascination with language is evident … Continue reading
Below follows Jan van den Berg’s first blogpost: “American influence is busily eroding a valuable and once firm distinction in British speech and writing” (Amis 1997: 11). This is a quotation from Kingsley Amis’s usage guide The King’s English (1997). As we … Continue reading
When we were living in Cambridge, two years ago, I was struck by the pervasiveness of you guys as a plural pronoun. It is not as if it was new to me: in my history of the language lectures I … Continue reading
This is a question Jimmie Fane, a character in Kingsley Amis’s novel The Biographer’s Moustache (1996), asks his biographer Gordon Scott-Thomson. The question relates to the word often, and he asks: How do you pronounce O, F, T, E, N? Sounding the … Continue reading
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Kingsley Amis distinguishes two types of people in his amusing usage guide The King’s English based on their attitudes and usage: berks & wankers. These terms he quite obviously uses in absolutely nothing else but their most strictly technical sense as … Continue reading