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Many people ask this question – out of curiosity, fascination or rage against change. Can we hope to know the answer? Two specialists in the language as it is used today – one in Britain, one in the United States, risk some comments and prognoses.
Supermicros, video nasties, robotics, geostationary satellites, kilobytes and megatrends…Modern technology is a turmoil of ideas generated by, and generating, new techniques, new equipment and – inevitably – new language
ET is a forum for the discussion of ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘correct’, ‘incorrect’, ‘standard’, ‘non-standard’, ‘substandard’ and other kinds of usage. In this issue, DAVID CRYSTAL considers a bone of contention that has been with us for a long time.
English Today talks to Sir John Burgh, Director-General of the British Council, about the history, evolution, policies and plans of an organization that runs a planet-wide programme of English as a second or foreign language.
The teaching of ‘grammar’ is a matter of controversy in educational circles. In recent decades the pendulum has swung away from traditional ‘parsing’ towards ‘language in use’ – accompanied by cheers and fears in roughly equal measure. Is compromise possible between the two extremes, or even something better than simple compromise?
The third of a four-part gazetteer of the basic geopolitical vocabulary of the English language, dealing with the facts, fancies, fallacies, ambiguities and subtle implications of such words. For convenience of presentation, the material is not always in strict alphabetical order.
On the 3rd November 1984 there appeared in The Guardian newspaper (London and Manchester) an article entitled ‘The earth lay gloog, the cattle bollowed deep’. It was the work of MAGGIE COOK, the founder of the Boscobel Poets of Hastings, and lies squarely in the tradition of English literate nonsense. The article is reproduced below, with a commentary by TOM McARTHUR.
Ambrose Bierce (1842–?1914) took part in the U.S. Civil War, dug for gold in the Black Hills of Dakota, worked for William Randolph Hearst on the San Francisco Examiner, and from time to time simply vanished. Finally, in 1913 he went south of the border into revolutionary Mexico and disappeared without trace. No one has ever learned what happened to him, but before he vanished he had left behind an enduring legacy: The Devil's Dictionary.
Some consider that Scots is simply a northerly dialect of English. Others assert that it is a language in its own right, as distinct from English as Dutch is distinct from German, with its own oral and literary heritage. What is the truth of the matter?