The Language Wars: A History of Proper English

Henry Hitchings

The Language Wars: A History of Proper English

The English language is a battlefield. Since the age of Shakespeare, arguments over correct usage have been acrimonious, and those involved have always really been contesting values – to do with morality, politics and class. The Language Wars examines the present state of the conflict, its history and its future. Moving chronologically, the book explores the most persistent issues to do with English and unpacks the history of ‘proper’ usage. 4.1 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Language Wars: A History of Proper English

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Language & Linguistics
Format Hardback
Pages 416
RRP £17.99
Date of Publication February 2011
ISBN 978-1848542082
Publisher John Murray
 

The English language is a battlefield. Since the age of Shakespeare, arguments over correct usage have been acrimonious, and those involved have always really been contesting values – to do with morality, politics and class. The Language Wars examines the present state of the conflict, its history and its future. Moving chronologically, the book explores the most persistent issues to do with English and unpacks the history of ‘proper’ usage.

Reviews

The Mail on Sunday

Craig Brown

[Hitchings] writes beautiful prose, witty and succinct. His book is full of complex ideas expressed with crystal clarity ... The range of his knowledge and curiosity is remarkable ... I recommend that you rush out to immediately buy it, or to buy it immediately, whichever you prefer.

30/01/2011

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The Evening Standard

David Sexton

...an intriguing and committed book ... a sustained assault on all who call for order and restraint.

03/02/2011

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The Financial Times

Jonathon Green

...Hitchings’ exemplary researches and disinterested, perceptive and often witty explications, make it clear that one cannot glibly dismiss these struggles over what makes English “proper” ... a fascinating, wholly readable and gratifyingly informative book.

07/02/2011

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The Sunday Times

Andrew Holgate

[A] richly detailed and often delightfully combative book... a pleasure to read.

23/01/2011

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The Sunday Telegraph

Charles Moore

...well worth reading... Since Mr Hitchings says that all attitudes to language are political, he should be more aware of his own politics. They appear to be posh-anarchic, boho-snob. In his mind, poor, ignorant, street people are good, because they have an authentic earthiness to them. Clever, lambent, ironic, super-educated people like himself are good, too, obviously. The baddies are the suburban people in between, who clip their privet hedges and defend the semi-colon.

30/01/2011

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