The Fight for English: How language pundits ate, shot, and left

Hardcover | October 15, 2006

byDavid Crystal

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Lynne Truss's 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' injected new life into the long-standing arguments over rights and wrongs in English usage. Now David Crystal brings together his own distinctive style and unique expertise to provide the first thorough-going assessment of the ongoing debate. With a lively, humorous, and accessible approach, Crystal charts the battles past and present, illustrating the characters and attitudes involved from a wide range of written sources. He combines a chronological survey of key influences in the area of usage with discussion of particular themes suchas punctuation, spelling, and pronunciation. And he looks ahead to the future in the context of recent education policy shifts. A positive and compelling case is made for variation in usage of English based on appropriateness of situation, arguing that 'zero tolerance' in relation to language is a profoundly flawed approach. Crystal offers an original and authoritative counter-argument to the prescriptivist agenda that hasbeen expounded in many accounts of English usage over the years. The Fight for English is the book that everyone concerned with English usage has been eagerly awaiting.

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From the Publisher

Lynne Truss's 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' injected new life into the long-standing arguments over rights and wrongs in English usage. Now David Crystal brings together his own distinctive style and unique expertise to provide the first thorough-going assessment of the ongoing debate. With a lively, humorous, and accessible approach, Cry...

David Crystal is the foremost writer and lecturer on the English language, with a world-wide reputation and over 100 books to his name. He is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, and has been awarded an OBE for services to the English Language.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 7.48 × 5.31 × 0.98 inPublished:October 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019920764X

ISBN - 13:9780199207640

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

1. Beginnings2. Complications3. Variations4 S4. Standards5 R5. Reformers6. Borrowings7. Courtiers8. Rustics9. Authors10. Censurers11. Protectors12. Chaos13. Authorities14. Change15. Grammar16. Appropriateness17. Incorrectness18. Perspicuity19. Clarity20. Punctuation21. Antecedents22. Consequences23. Context24. Spelling25. Elocution26. Pronunciation27. Institutions28. Education29. Climates30. Future

Editorial Reviews

"Manages to be genial and irascible at the same time...Crystal is fascinating and insightful, often funny."--Patricia T. O'Conner, New York Times Book Review "This volume is an excellent introductory essay on the development of the English language through the ages and on the rise of the prescriptivist movement, which is still very much alive. For both readers who consider themselves prescriptivists and those who consider themselves permissivists, this book will provide a quick lesson on why neither extreme makes sense, either historically or functionally. Crystal looks ahead to a more balanced view of English as an evolving and rich tool for communication."--Technical Communication "This engaging book encourages one to make appropriateness rather than correctness the cornerstone of usage--and along the way offers fascinating bits of linguistic history. It belongs on the shelf next to [Lynne] Truss's book....Essential. All readers; all levels."--CHOICE