Henry Hitchings





Henry Hitchings

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December 11, 1974

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About this author

Henry Hitchings is the author of The Language Wars, The Secret Life of Words, Who’s Afraid of Jane Austen?, and Defining the World. He has contributed to many newspapers and magazines and is the theater critic for the London Evening Standard.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/henryh...


Average rating: 3.93 · 1,667 ratings · 285 reviews · 8 distinct works · Similar authors
The Secret Life of Words: H...
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 345 ratings — published 2008 — 7 editions
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The Language Wars: A Histor...
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 189 ratings — published 2011 — 7 editions
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Defining the World: The Ext...
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 147 ratings — published 2005 — 9 editions
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Sorry!: The English and The...
3.25 of 5 stars 3.25 avg rating — 113 ratings — published 2013 — 8 editions
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How to Really Talk about Bo...
3.18 of 5 stars 3.18 avg rating — 87 ratings — published 2008 — 7 editions
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Pride and Prejudice
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 1,576,070 ratings — published 1813 — 2015 editions
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Sense and Sensibility
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 633,560 ratings — published 1811 — 151 editions
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Samuel Johnson: A Personal ...
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3.38 of 5 stars 3.38 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 1971 — 6 editions
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“The history of prescriptions about English ... is in part a history of bogus rules, superstitions, half-baked logic, groaningly unhelpful lists, baffling abstract statements, false classifications, contemptuous insiderism and educational malfeasance. But it is also a history of attempts to make sense of the world and its bazaar of competing ideas and interests.”
Henry Hitchings

“Language is a social energy, and our capacity for articulate speech is the key factor that makes us different from other species. We are not as fast as cheetahs – or even as horses. Nor are we as strong as bulls or as adaptable as bacteria. But our brains are equipped with the facility to produce and process speech, and we are capable of abstract thought. A bee may dance to show other bees the location of a source of food, a green monkey may deliver sophisticated vocal signals, and a sparrow may manage as many as thirteen different types of song, but an animal's system of communication has a limited repertoire; ours, on the other hand, is 'open', and its mechanisms permit a potentially infinite variety of utterances.”
Henry Hitchings, The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English

“Often we have three terms for the same thing--one Anglo-Saxon, one French, and one clearly absorbed from Latin or Greek. The Anglo-Saxon word is typically a neutral one; the French word connotes sophistication; and the Latin or Greek word, learnt from a written text rather than from human contact, is comparatively abstract and conveys a more scientific notion.”
Henry Hitchings, The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English



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