Tag Archives: prescriptivism

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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Roadkill’s scriptwriters

For a paper I’m writing on the use of who/whom I’m trying to get in touch with the scriptwriters of Roadkill, a British political thriller series that was broadcast in the UK and the US towards the end of 2020 … 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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The project continues …

The Bridging the Unbridgeable project officially ended nearly five years ago, but almost all of us are presenting a paper at the next Prescriptivism Conference, held online (no fee!) at the University of Vigo from 23 – 25 September 2021. … Continue reading

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Lowth in the Economist

It doesn’t happen very often that Lowth (or indeed myself!) gets a mention in The Economist! Thanks, Alison, for letting us know. (Can anyone help me find the author of the piece? I’d like to tell him/her about my new … Continue reading

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More than th-fronting

I keep on looking for instances of prescriptivism or metalinguistic comments on prescriptive issues in English literature. My call for examples in English Today recently did not produce any more examples unfortunately. The solution? Keep on reading, and even rereading. … Continue reading

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Soon out now: Prescription and Tradition in Language

Some of you may remember the wonderful Prescriptivism Conference we held here at Leiden in June 2013: I’m very happy to be able to announce the publication of the collection of articles that resulted from it in only a few … Continue reading

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Can your local accent hold you back?

Do people need to change their local accents to get on in life? The answer is “yes” according to those advocating a prescriptivist approach to language use who often emphasize that in professional settings and in job interviews local accents … Continue reading

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Blaming the media?

As part of our interactive feature series in English Today, the latest and ninth article has been published today in which I discuss attitudes towards the role of the media in language variation and change. In my online questionnaire, I asked informants … Continue reading

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Grammar pedants online

In the Bridging the Unbridgeable project we’ve been trying to find out what people’s pet hates are. So far, we’ve done so directly by asking them in attitudes surveys, both online and face-to face, but another great source is to … Continue reading

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