9780241113462 / 0241113466

The state of the language: English Observed


Publisher:H. Hamilton



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About the book:

Is the English language in decline? Many people seem to think so--but Philip Howard isn't one of them. The Literary Editor of The Times of London, Howard takes a robust, commonsensical view of the changes that are happening in English. His is not the Panglossian attitude that all is neccessarily for the best in the best of all possible languages, but he does feel that change is necessary--and healthy--in any living language.
Howard here examines the language in its various branches and categories, such as grammar and pronunciation, spelling and punctuation, dialect and slang. He discusses the effect the new technologies, from cable TV to photocomposition, are having on the mother tongue, and he examines the new dialects that are coming into use. He navigates the back streets of euphemism and the broad, boring boulevards of cliche. He asks whether the language is actually changing as fast as we suppose, and, if so, why.
Howard argues that as far as we can, we should strive to direct and control the changes in English in ways that increase its power. And where we can't help it, he says, we should lie back and enjoy its immense richness, which is unrivaled by any other language. Rather than have us wring our hands, Philip Howard entreats us, with his customary with and erudition, to use our tongues in concert with our brains.

About the Author:

Philip Howard is the author of New Words for Old, Weasel Words, Words Fail Me, and, most recently, A Word in Your Ear.

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