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    González-Díaz, Victorina 2014. ‘I quite detest the man’: Degree adverbs, female language and Jane Austen. Language and Literature, Vol. 23, Issue. 4, p. 310.

  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: March 2008


This chapter talks about language in general and English in particular, of competition between prescriptive and descriptive ideals of grammar and lexicography in the market-place and of a shifting role for the place of speech and writing in codifying the language. It focuses on Britain. From its seventeenth- and eighteenth-century foundations, the study of English grammar has had lobbyists who regarded usage as the highest or only determinant of correctness and others who subordinated it to other considerations such as Latin, logic, etymologic, analogic, and personal preference, among them. The chapter focuses on the century between 1830 and 1930, with scope to examine the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) from inspiration to publication. It examines the origins of the OED. It highlights two significant nineteenth-century linguistic themes. The first is the link between language usage and morality. The second is the relationship between social or national identity on the one hand and linguistic practice on the other.
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