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The Language Wars (Paperback)
  • The Language Wars (Paperback)

The Language Wars (Paperback)

Paperback 416 Pages / Published: 01/09/2011
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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. Above all, it uses the past as a way of illuminating the present. Moving chronologically, the book explores the most persistent issues to do with English and unpacks the history of 'proper' usage. Where did these ideas spring from? Which of today's bugbears and annoyances are actually venerable? Who has been on the front line in the language wars?

THE LANGUAGE WARS examines grammar rules, regional accents, swearing, spelling, dictionaries, political correctness, and the role of electronic media in reshaping language. It also takes a look at such niggling concerns as the split infinitive, elocution and text messaging. Peopled with intriguing characters such as Jonathan Swift, H. W. Fowler and George Orwell as well as the more disparate figures of Lewis Carroll, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lenny Bruce, THE LANGUAGE WARS is an essential volume for anyone interested in the state of the English language today or intrigued about its future.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
ISBN: 9781848542099
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 280 g
Dimensions: 197 x 130 x 26 mm

'[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 ... Every paragraph contains a fascinating detail about the English language ... I recommend that you rush out to immediately buy it, or to buy it immediately, whichever you prefer.' * Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday, Five Star Review *
'This richly detailed and often delightfully combative book is a historical guide to the sometimes splenetic battles that have been fought over [English] down the centuries . . . a pleasure to read.' * Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times *
'Crisply written, amusing, informative and thought-provoking. Anyone interested in the English language and its history should read it.' * Charles Moore, Sunday Telegraph *
'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" ... Hitchings has created a fascinating, wholly readable and gratifyingly informative book.' * Financial Times *
The Language Wars asks us to think beyond tradition, habit and deference, and to consider what we want from our words. It is a very intelligent and polite call to arms, but a call to arms nonetheless * Observer *
'The Language Wars takes the reader on a Cook's tour of complaints about English past and present ...' * Deborah Cameron, Guardian *
'It is a breath of fresh air (if that is the right cliche) to wander the byways of language without always being nudged to laugh at prescriptivists' foolish nostrums.' * Daily Telegraph *
'A superb survey' * Reader's Digest *
'An extraordinary amount of reading has clearly gone in to the Language Wars' * Guardian *
'Erudite but eminently readable' * Independent on Sunday *
'...if you like the English language as it develops and changes - this is a book you'll love. Hitchings unpicks arguments with terrific flair....He makes us think about language - what it is, what it does, where's been. There's a great bit on the modern use of "like". It's like, wow' * Evening Stardard *
'Playful and learned' * Independent *
'Richly detailed, delightfully combative...such a pleasure to read' * Sunday Times *

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