The Vocabula Review -- Vol. 3, No. 7

Robert Hartwell Fiske Vocabula at AOL.COM
Sun Jul 15 14:01:27 UTC 2001

The July issue of The Vocabula Review (TVR) is now online at Only the opening paragraph of each feature is shown
in this announcement.


July 2001 -- Vol. 3, No. 7

A society is generally as lax as its language.

Coming in the August issue of The Vocabula Review: "The Like Virus" by David

David Grambs has worked as an editor, lexicographer, and writer, including
stints as a staff member of the original (first edition) American Heritage
Dictionary, French and German translator, encyclopedia writer, and magazine
copy editor.  He is the author of eight word books (or dictionaries), from
The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers and Death by Spelling to,
more recently, The Describer's Dictionary and The Endangered English


The End of Linguistics -- Mark Halpern
Memo to Reviewers -- David Carkeet
Student Bloopers -- Michael Sheehan
Grumbling About Grammar
Elegant English
On Dimwitticisms
Clues to Concise Writing
Scarcely Used Words
Oddments and Miscellanea
On the Bookshelf
Letters to the Editor

The End of Linguistics: Taking the Language Back from Nature -- and Linguists

There's only one thing that everyone knows about language -- that it's a
living, growing thing -- so it seems particularly unfortunate that it should
be false. It is a metaphor that may once have served some useful purpose;
today it is a noxious cloud whose effect is to stifle rational discussion of
language.  It is heard whenever A questions a usage of B's: someone, usually
C, will counter the criticism by reciting the one thing everyone knows -- and
with that remark, reason flies out the window.  You raise your eyebrows at
his use of reticent to mean reluctant?  You think him ignorant for using
disinterested to mean uninterested? You groan because he speaks of running
the gauntlet?  I tell you in response that language is a living, growing
thing; thus I refute pedantry -- and carry the day!


Memo to Reviewers

TO: Reviewers of novels
FROM: David Carkeet
RE: The things you do

* If you don't know what's going on in the book, quickly send it back to the
review editor so that someone else can get the assignment.  Don't, of all
things, go ahead and write the review.


Student Bloopers

A blooper is defined as an embarrassing public blunder, but as long as it's
someone else's mistake, most of us are quite capable of getting past the
embarrassment to enjoy the humor. Not only have books appeared in recent
years to document and preserve bloopers, but TV shows on the subject have
delighted in exposing human fallibility, too -- especially when authority
figures are involved.


The Vocabula Review is a free journal about the state of the English
language. We invite you to submit articles. For more information, see
"Contributors' Guidelines" at

Vocabula Communications Company
10 Grant Place
Lexington, MA 02420
United States
Tel: (781) 861-1515

More information about the Ads-l mailing list