Tag Archives: Kingsley Amis

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper!

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

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A postdating for the OED – with thanks to Kingsley Amis

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

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Which dialect?

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

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Are Americanisms taking over the British Language?

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

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You guys, you all and Kingsley Amis

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

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Sounding the T or not?

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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Berk or wanker?

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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

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Earlier use of the new “like”?

Mesthrie et al. (Introducing Sociolinguistics 2nd ed., 2009:117-8) discuss “three newer uses” of like, the “quotative” use (I’m like why did you do that), the use of like as a hedge (My parents like hate you) and the use of like as … Continue reading

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New edition of The King’s English by Kingsley Amis

The title of this usage guide was obviously inspired by its famous ancestor published in 1881, by George Washington Moon. As for the title of Amis’s book, being called “the King” was “a nickname he tolerated”, according to his son … Continue reading

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