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Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History

Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History

Anne Curzan presents a pioneering new definition of prescriptivism as a linguistic phenomenon.

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ISBN 9781316604885
Barcode 9781316604885
Published 28 April 2016 by Cambridge University Press
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (1 other possible title(s) available)
Author(s) By Curzan, Anne
Availability Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9781316604885
ISBN-10 1316604888
Stock Available
Status Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Imprint Cambridge University Press
Publication Date 28 April 2016
International Publication Date 14 June 2017
Publication Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Author(s) By Curzan, Anne
Category Language & Linguistics
Number of Pages 208
Dimensions Width: 153mm
Height: 229mm
Spine: 11mm
Weight 310g
Interest Age 19+ years
Reading Age 19+ years
Library of Congress English language - Grammar, Historical, English language - Usage - History, English language - History, Historical linguistics, LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative
NBS Text Linguistics
ONIX Text Professional and scholarly
Dewey Code 427
Catalogue Code Not specified

Description of this Book

Over the past 300 years, attempts have been made to prescribe how we should and should not use the English language. The efforts have been institutionalized in places such as usage guides, dictionaries, and school curricula. Such authorities have aspired to 'fix' the language, sometimes by keeping English exactly where it is, but also by trying to improve the current state of the language. Anne Curzan demonstrates the important role prescriptivism plays in the history of the English language, as a sociolinguistic factor in language change and as a vital meta-discourse about language. Starting with a pioneering new definition of prescriptivism as a linguistic phenomenon, she highlights the significant role played by Microsoft's grammar checker, debates about 'real words', non-sexist language reform, and efforts to reappropriate stigmatized terms. Essential reading for anyone interested in the regulation of language, the book is a fascinating re-examination of how we tell language history.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review 'Anne Curzan takes prescriptivism seriously; this informative, engaging and readable book deserves serious attention from anyone with an interest in the history - or the future - of English.' Deborah Cameron, University of Oxford 'This is the most sensible study I have read of the urge to fix and regulate the English language. Anne Curzan is one of the most accomplished historical linguists at work today, and Fixing English represents a clear and effective case for why, like it or not, 'prescriptivism' has always been with us.' Seth Lerer, University of California, San Diego

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Author's Bio

Anne Curzan is Professor of English in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.

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