Misuse and abuse

August 9, 2012

John Radford ("Precise definitions", Letters, 2 August) says that in asking to which historical point we should refer for standards of English correctness, I am asking the wrong question, and that it has no answer. He evidently missed the heavy sarcasm in my "question", as this was precisely my point.

He and I would probably disagree on what is and isn't a "misuse" of English and who should decide. But we at least agree that English, like all living language, changes over time in line with its primary communication function rather than, as Michael Hollas would have us believe ("Singularly annoying", Letters, 19 July), that "correct" English was engraved in stone in some particular golden age.

Jennifer Jenkins, Chair of global Englishes, University of Southampton

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns