Skip to main content
×
Home

Prescriptivism in English literature?: A final contribution to the series from Leiden University's ‘Bridging the Unbridgeable’ project

Abstract

One of the things we discovered in the course of the Bridging the Unbridgeable project is that usage guides are predominantly produced by non-specialists. There are linguists, too, who wrote usage guides – David Crystal, for instance, Pam Peters and most recently Stephen Pinker – but authors are very often journalists and novelists. Kingsley Amis (1922–1995), whose The King's English was published posthumously in 1997, is a good example, and so is Rebecca Gowers, who revised and updated her great-grandfather's Plain Words in 2014. Examples of journalists-turned-usage-guide-writers are Simon Heffer (Strictly English, 2010) and Oliver Kamm (Accidence Will Happen, 2015). Writing is their job, so it is not surprising that novelists and journalists are drawn to language prescription as well. They may not be linguists in the strict sense, but they should be considered language specialists all the same.

Copyright
Corresponding author
I.M.Tieken@hum.leidenuniv.nl
References
Hide All
Beal J. 2010. ‘The grocer's apostrophe: Popular prescriptivism in the 21st century.’ English Today 26(2), 5764.
Kostadinova V. (in progress). Attitudes to Usage in American English. PhD Dissertation, Leiden: University of Leiden.
Mesthrie R., Swann J., Deumert A. & Leap W. L. 2009. Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd edn. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Sørensen K. 1984. ‘Charles Dickens: Linguistic Innovator.’ English Studies 65(3), 237247.
Straaijer R. 2014. ‘Hyper Usage Guide of English.’ Online at <http://huge.ullet.net> (Accessed September 13, 2016).
Tieken-Boon van Ostade I. 2013. ‘Flat adverbs and Jane Austen's letters.’ In Van der Wal M. & Rutten G. (eds.), Touching the Past. Studies in the Historical Sociolinguistics of Ego-Documents. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 91106.
Tieken-Boon van Ostade I. (in progress). English Usage Guides: The Biography of a Genre.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
  • URL: /core/journals/english-today
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 10
Total number of PDF views: 114 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 296 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 24th October 2016 - 24th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.