[Ads-l] Earlier Occurrence of Shaw Quote on Common Language

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Thu Oct 27 22:21:28 EDT 2016

Normally pushing back the earliest known occurrence of a quotation by a month or two is hardly worthy of notice.  However, my doing so for a well-known quotation of particular importance to linguists may be of interest to some.

George Bernard Shaw's attributed quotation about England and America as two countries separated/divided by a common language/the same language is often sourced to Reader's Digest, Nov. 1942.  Stephen Goranson pushed it back slightly to The Listener, 29 Oct. 1942.  I now have found another slight antedating:

"England and America are two countries separated by the same language."

George Bernard Shaw, Quoted in Christian Science Monitor, 5 Sept. 1942 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)

Fred Shapiro

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

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