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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Long-s in Late Modern English manuscripts
Author: Lyda Fens-de Zeeuw
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Universiteit Leiden
Author: Robin Straaijer
Institution: Lehigh University
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Writing Systems
Subject Language: English
Abstract: It is a generally accepted fact that the use of long-s, or <ſ>, was discontinued in English printing at the close of the eighteenth century and that by the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century this allograph had all but disappeared. This demise of <ſ> in printing has been fairly well documented, but there is virtually no literature on what happened to it in handwritten documents. The disappearance of <ſ> and <ſs> (as in ʃeems and buʃineʃs) in favour of and is generally ascribed to the printers’ wishes to simplify their type-settings. But at what point and to what extent did this simplifying process influence private writing of the period? In this article we have documented the rules, as observed by printers, for the use of long-s in the Late Modern English period, and we illustrate how printing practice during this period compared to the usage of this particular grapheme in letters written by two well-known codifiers of the English language, the grammarians Joseph Priestley and Lindley Murray.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 16, Issue 2.

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