There are 7 posts.
‘Blessed be the fruit’ – so goes the standard greeting in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which has recently been adapted for television with the final episode airing the UK this weekend. Living in a post-apocalyptic, authoritarian society in which birth rates have fallen to almost nothing, fertile women – or ‘handmaids’ – are assigned […]more
Catherine Sangster, Oxford Dictionaries’ head of pronunciations, was interviewed by The Doctor for Epicurean Cure following her appearance at Nine Worlds 2016. This is the second part of an edited two-part version. The Doctor: So the point of Oxford Dictionaries is to reflect usage rather than prescribe it. What are your thoughts on institutions such […]more
Language use and notions of correctness have always been central matters for large sections of British society – especially those concerned with class, status, and education. Throughout its history, the BBC played a central role in disseminating what is considered ‘proper’ pronunciation. In its early days, the BBC was even meant to not only entertain […]more
People can go a bit funny when I tell them I edit dictionaries for a living. They get nervous and hesitant, as if they’re expecting me to leap on them at any moment, mock their use of grammar, laugh cruelly at their mispronunciations, and pour scorn on their woefully limited vocabulary. But nothing could be […]more
This past week saw a small explosion of anguished queries and dire proclamations in a number of newspaper headlines. “Is This the End of Proper Grammar?” asked the New York Times, and, not to be outdone, the Minnesota Daily trumpeted that the “AP Stylebook seeks to destroy the American way of life”. An article in […]more
Regular readers of this blog may remember a recent poll in which we posed the following question: Do you think dictionaries should: Describe language as it is being used Prescribe how language should be used Be a mixture of prescriptive and descriptive The results were as follows: 70.27 % were in favour of a mixture, […]more