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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

Offers a unique view of the English language and its development, and includes witty commentary and anecdotes along the way.


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The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics

By Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin W. Lewis

This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."


Academic Paper


Title: Defending Strunk and White
Author: Michael Bulley
Institution: United Arab Emirates University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In ET102 (June 2010), Geoffrey K. Pullum poured scorn on the book The Elements of Style by W. Strunk and E. B. White, saying it had a ‘vice-like grip on Americans’ view of grammar and usage' and that ‘almost everything they say on that topic is wrong.’ Elements is a fairly short book, containing 85 pages of advice on writing, presenting some of it in a way you could describe as rules of usage. Pullum thinks that many Americans go further and treat it as holy writ. I should like to defend Elements here and to attack Pullum's critical method. Some ET readers may be surprised by this, as in 1992 I wrote ‘The vital principle is that there are no rules of correct usage. The basis for choice is aesthetic, not technical, and since language rests on convention, there is no authority that can justify your preferences.’ I stick to that. How, then, am I going to defend Elements without seeming to contradict myself? I think the answer is in what I went on to say: ‘That does not mean you should not make linguistic judgements: you should, but on grounds of quality, not of correctness.’ (Who Controls the Language?, ET31, July 1992.)

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 26, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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