Political or correct?

April 6, 2007

Roy Harris laments the acceptance of international varieties of English as the latest turn in political correctness (Opinion, March 30).

However, what he describes as political correctness is knowledge of the processes of language contact and change. His own apparent ignorance of the influence of such processes on present-day English is astounding for an eminent linguist, as are his assumptions that non-native English is by definition "a hotchpotch" and that the norms of educated English can only be those of a small group of native speakers.

He may object to anyone of his frame of mind being "branded a linguistic Colonel Blimp", but his own words suggest that this is precisely what he is.

Jennifer Jenkins.
King's College London

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