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Lexicography

October 28, 2009, 6:28 AM
Jack Lynch’s new book “The Lexicographer’s Dilemma” would like all the “grammar cops” out there to take a chill pill, according to The Salon’s Laura Miller. She says: “Lynch would like us all to calm down, please, and recognize that ‘proper’ English is a recent and changeable institution…According to Lynch, the very notion of correct English is only 300 years old; in the days of Chaucer and Shakespeare, the idea that native English speakers could be accused of using their own language improperly would have seemed absurd. The advent of printing -- and, especially, the growth of general literacy -- led to efforts to establish authoritative standards of spelling and usage in the 18th century.” He says the “correctness” of language is determined by those wealthy populists of a generation or two ago, who would of course heap criticism on the colloquial style of “those ‘inferior’ and upstart groups supposedly most prone to transgression: women, young people, racial and ethnic minorities and, of course, Americans.”
 

Lexicography

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