LINGUIST List 27.2250

Tue May 17 2016

Books: Fixing English: Curzan

Editor for this issue: Sara Couture <>

Date: 10-May-2016
From: Katie Laker <>
Subject: Fixing English: Curzan
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Title: Fixing English
Subtitle: Prescriptivism and Language History
Published: 2016
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Anne Curzan
Paperback: ISBN: 9781316604885 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 34.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781316604885 Pages: Price: U.K. £ 22.99

Editor's note: This is a new paperback edition of a previously announced 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.

Introduction: does prescriptivism fail?; 1. Prescriptivism's umbrella: standards, style, restoration, and political intervention; 2. Prescriptivism's lessons: scope and 'The history of English'; 3. Checking grammar and grammar checkers; 4. Dictionaries and the idea of 'real words'; 5. Non-sexist language reform and its effects; 6. Reappropriation and challenges to institutionalized prescriptivism; 7. Finding shared ground: public conversations about prescriptivism.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Written In: English (eng)

See this book announcement on our website:

---------------------------------- Publishing Partner ----------------------------------
Cambridge University Press

----------------------------- Major Supporting Publishers -----------------------------
Akademie Verlag GmbH
Bloomsbury Linguistics (formerly Continuum Linguistics)
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Cascadilla Press
Classiques Garnier
De Gruyter Mouton
Edinburgh University Press
Elsevier Ltd
Equinox Publishing Ltd
European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
Georgetown University Press
John Benjamins
Lincom GmbH
MIT Press
Multilingual Matters
Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG
Oxford University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Peter Lang AG
Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
University of Toronto Press

--------------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ---------------------------
Association of Editors of the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics
International Pragmatics Assoc.
Linguistic Association of Finland
Morgan & Claypool Publishers
Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
Seoul National University
SIL International Publications
Universitat Jaume I
University of Nebraska Press
Utrecht institute of Linguistics

Page Updated: 17-May-2016