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Read 'The Fight for English' by David CrystalFrances Gordon | 28 December 2006 | 12:25
Everyman's favourite linguist, David Crystal, tells us to say no to the kind of zero tolerance advocated (dictated) by books such as Lynne Truss's bestseller 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves'.
I am not going to put forward all his arguments here, but I encourage all readers who love the English language to buy this book and read it cover to cover. It's a pleasurable experience. Crystal writes with warmth, clarity and intelligence. He is among the most studied and respected linguists in the world. Most of his arguments are put forward logically and objectively.
But my favourite parts of the book are those where Crystal puts down his gentle arguments and gets on his soapbox. When reading passages like the one below, I admit that my arm involantarily lifted into a clenched-fist 'yeesssss' gesture:
'...when I see people still being conned - made to feel threatened or inferior because a linguistically brainwashed boss or radio listener or teacher threatens all hell if infinitives are split or prepositions ended, then I get cross. And when I see the same rubbish being promulgated 250 years on - still, in this day and age - in books written by well-intentioned people who say they care about the language while cheerfully admitting to not having any qualifications at all to talk about it, then I get very cross. And when I see their books being bought by millions, I am amazed at the way the con still has the power to succeed.' (Page, 122)
Enough quoted. Please read: 'The Fight for English, How language pundits ate, shot and left', David Crystal, 2006
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