Unlocking the English Language

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9780571141234: Unlocking the English Language

At a time when many people fear that the English language is entering a period of serious decline, the author of this book takes a more optimistic view. He believes that it is imperative to see modern English as a rich and diverse linguistic system deposited on our shores some 1,500 years ago, and left with us unweakened, though substantially changed, by the social and political events of the intervening period. Part 1 of this book is based on the T.S. Eliot Memorial Lectures delivered at the University of Kent at Canterbury in November 1988, which cover a wide range of topics in English lexicography and grammar. Part 2 consists of eight essays written between 1973 and 1987 and now brought together for the first time.

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"Phooey," "airport" and "pacifism" are among the words that entered the English language between 1900 and 1930; more recent coinages include "hi-fi," "baby boom" and "yuppie." Language, we are shown here, is a fast-changing medium, and not only in the area of vocabulary: lexicography is a battlefield where different social classes, schools of grammar, philosophies and far-flung speakers vie to impose their viewpoints. In an elegant, involving introduction to some of the thorniest issues in modern language use and abuse, Burchfield, who has served as chief editor of the Oxford English Dictonary , ponders the "fast speech rules" that govern daily conversation and bemoans the "devastating loss of religious mystery" in modernized versions of sacred texts. How should lexicographers deal with derogatory racial, ethnic and religious terms? At what historical point did American English become different from British English? Burchfield tackles these and other questions in scholarly essays sure to intrigue anyone who loves words and language.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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R.W. Burchfield
Published by Faber & Faber (1989)
ISBN 10: 0571141234 ISBN 13: 9780571141234
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)

Book Description Faber & Faber, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0571141234

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