The Lexicographer s Dilemma

As historian Jack Lynch has discovered, every rule has a human history and the characters peopling his narrative are as interesting for their obsession as for their erudition: the sharp-tongued satirist Jonathan Swift, who called for a ...

The Lexicographer s Dilemma

In its long history, the English language has had many lawmakers--those who have tried to regulate or otherwise organize the way we speak. Proper Words in Proper Places offers the first narrative history of these endeavors and shows clearly that what we now regard as the only "correct" way to speak emerged out of specific historical and social conditions over the course of centuries. As historian Jack Lynch has discovered, every rule has a human history and the characters peopling his narrative are as interesting for their obsession as for their erudition: the sharp-tongued satirist Jonathan Swift, who called for a government-sponsored academy to issue rulings on the language; the polymath Samuel Johnson, who put dictionaries on a new footing; the eccentric Hebraist Robert Lowth, the first modern to understand the workings of biblical poetry; the crackpot linguist John Horne Tooke, whose bizarre theories continue to baffle scholars; the chemist and theologian Joseph Priestly, whose political radicalism prompted violent riots; the ever-crotchety Noah Webster, who worked to Americanize the English language; the long-bearded lexicographer James A. H. Murray, who devoted his life to a survey of the entire language in the Oxford English Dictionary; and the playwright George Bernard Shaw, who worked without success to make English spelling rational. Grammatical "rules" or "laws" are not like the law of gravity, or even laws against murder and theft--they're more like rules of etiquette, made by fallible people and subject to change. Witty, smart, full of passion for the world's language, Proper Words in Proper Places will entertain and educate in equal measure.

More Books:

The Lexicographer's Dilemma
Language: en
Pages: 336
Authors: Jack Lynch
Categories: Language Arts & Disciplines
Type: BOOK - Published: 2009-11-03 - Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

In its long history, the English language has had many lawmakers--those who have tried to regulate or otherwise organize the way we speak. Proper Words in Proper Places offers the first narrative history of these endeavors and shows clearly that what we now regard as the only "correct" way to
The Cambridge Companion to English Dictionaries
Language: en
Pages:
Authors: Sarah Ogilvie
Categories: Literary Criticism
Type: BOOK - Published: 2020-02-29 - Publisher: Cambridge University Press

How did a single genre of text have the power to standardise the English language across time and region, rival the Bible in notions of authority, and challenge our understanding of objectivity, prescription, and description? Since the first monolingual dictionary appeared in 1604, the genre has sparked evolution, innovation, devotion,
The Hidden History of Coined Words
Language: en
Pages: 320
Authors: Ralph Keyes
Categories: Language Arts & Disciplines
Type: BOOK - Published: 2021-02-19 - Publisher: Oxford University Press

Successful word-coinages--those that stay in currency for a good long time--tend to conceal their beginnings. We take them at face value and rarely when and where they were first minted. Engaging, illuminating, and authoritative, Ralph Keyes's The Hidden History of Coined Words explores the etymological underworld of terms and expressions
A Day in a Working Life: 300 Trades and Professions through History [3 volumes]
Language: en
Pages: 1373
Authors: Gary Westfahl
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2015-04-21 - Publisher: ABC-CLIO

Ideal for high school and college students studying history through the everyday lives of men and women, this book offers intriguing information about the jobs that people have held, from ancient times to the 21st century. • Provides detailed, interesting essays describing more than 300 professions and occupations across a
The Language Wars
Language: en
Pages: 416
Authors: Henry Hitchings
Categories: Language Arts & Disciplines
Type: BOOK - Published: 2011-02-03 - Publisher: Hachette UK

The English language is a battlefield. Since the age of Shakespeare, arguments over correct usage have been acrimonious, and those involved have always really been contesting values - to do with morality, politics and class. THE LANGUAGE WARS examines the present state of the conflict, its history and its future.