Who knows what prescriptivism lurks in the hearts of men?

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat Apr 27 15:53:53 UTC 2013

>From a profile of John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, in today's
NYTimes (April 27, section A, p. 6):

"Before he became speaker, Mr. Bercow was already known for bringing a
pedantic streak to Parliamentary debates. Once he schooled a colleague on
the difference between “less” and “fewer.” Another time, he interrupted a
government minister to say, “Do not split infinitives.” (“The honorable
gentleman must be careful,” the unamused minister replied, “otherwise
someone will split his infinitives for him.”)
"Many members of Parliament hate being lectured or reined in, and Mr.
Bercow is not universally popular."

Think of how he would fare were he to attend an ADS conference!

It seems that a Minister of Transportation "once called Mr. Bercow a
“stupid, sanctimonious little dwarf” right on the Commons floor".  Erskine
May's manual of Parliamentary procedure devoted a half page to an anthology
of disparaging remarks made on the floor and ruled out of order -- no doubt
this will make the next edition.  The Minister subsequently apologized to


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

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

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