William Safire has died

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Sep 28 00:10:03 UTC 2009

I always thought of Bill Safire as something of a figure of moderation.  Politically, he was a Republican, but he was not comfortable with the extremism and know-nothingism of contemporary conservative Republicans, and endorsed Clinton for President in 1992.  Linguistically, he was a usage pundit, but he was more cognizant than the Edwin Newmans and John Simons of the fact that language changes, he wrote in a more humane manner than they did, and he was more knowledgeable about the methods of lexicological research than they were.  He gave historical-lexicological researchers like myself a more prominent outlet than anything else available.

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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