Favorite

Who gifted this? 

"The Little Rock River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall will be fully tenanted in November."

Kelley Bass asks "Is this the latest in the 'noun becomes verb' abomination?"

"If these thieves have any consciences maybe they would just drop them off at a church or anywhere."

John Wesley Hall writes: "Seems like a conscience should be treated like a collective noun and be singular here. At least it would sound better that way. At least to me." Me too.

"The stewards of standard English always say that dictionaries are overcapitulating, but never so dramatically as in 1961, with the publication of the notorious Webster's Third New International Dictionary. That volume's allowances for nonstandard English were heralded as a slide into irredeemable cultural gibbergabber. Even many years later, David Foster Wallace wrote one of his most irritating essays partly about his own revulsion toward Webster's Third, on the grounds that it included entries for abominations like irregardless." That's from a review of a new book, "The Story of Ain't" by David Skinner, about the controversy over Webster's Third. I remember it well.

In the 1960s, I worked for a newspaper whose managing editor boasted that the paper had no truck with Webster's Third, that he had instead bought all the Webster's Second he could find.

Webster's Third was a large step away from the prescriptive and proscriptive rules of English usage that most people had grown up with. The Third opted much more for the descriptive approach; that is, it recorded what people actually say, not just what some long-dead school teacher thought they should say. It recognized that the language is constantly changing. The title of Skinner's book is drawn from all the newspaper headlines based on the new dictionary's inclusion of ain't: "Saying Ain't Ain't Wrong," etc.

The argument between descriptivists and prescriptivists continues today. I seem to have a foot in each camp. Some change I accept, and some I do not. Fortunately, there aren't really any word police to take me away.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • IBS, you're from Chicago, right? Hillary's from Chicago. Your monomania against Hillary is puzzling and…

    • on July 27, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • When we had not one but TWO shit candidates running for president, is it really…

    • on July 27, 2017
  • Re: Buyer remorse

    • So Gene Lyons says all people who voted for Trump fall into just two categories…

    • on July 27, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation