Author Rosemary Ostler begins and ends with the work and spirit of Noah Webster who felt strongly that American English should be embraced. English as spoken in the US had evolved to a new language, as was fitting for a new country. British grammar texts or dictionaries were no longer relevant. Webster created an American English grammar text which he promoted by lecturing all a ...more
(Hell yes that's sentence-final on purpose.)
In Rosemarie Ostler's telling, the grammar wars have involved two groups. On one side are people who believe that there is a fixed, proper standard of English to which people should aspire and schools should teach. On the other side are people who believe that standard (US) English should emerge from how people actually s ...more
Today's post is on Founding Grammars: How Early America's War over Words Shaped Today's Language by Rosemarie Ostler. It is 309 pages long including notes and it published by St. Martin's Press. The cover is blue with a quill and the constitution on it. The intended reader is someone interested in history and grammar. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the dust jacket- Who decided not to split infinitives? With whom should we take issue if in ...more
I'm not a grammar stickler, but I do like to know the rules. Even moreso, I like to know why ...more
In the argument over descriptive versus prescriptive linguistics, Sydney Harris wrote, "Our attitude toward language merely reflects our attitude toward more b ...more
I finished it and then started reading it aloud to my 12 and 11 year old. It has gone by much slower as we have had to clarify and define words and ideas through out the book.
Linguist and freelance writer Rosemarie Ostler loves exploring the rich record of American language use. Her latest book, Splendiferous Speech, tells the story of how early Americans created their own brand of English.
Rosemarie has also written language-related articles for magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, American History, Atlas Obscura, and Christian Science Monitor.