The Prodigal Tongue [Lynne Murphy]

Date Started: 11 August, 2020

Date Completed: 13 August, 2020

Source: Brooklyn Public Library Kindle ebook

Goodreads link.

Notes:

  • Again, a book I took so long getting to, I forgot entirely where I saw the recommendation.
  • It’s a book by an American linguist in Britain who has gotten fed up of “American English is bad English” cliches and mounted a stirring defence.
  • It’s great fun in how it debunks stereotypes with evidence. But it’s also a bit of a reference book rather than a narrative book – something to dip into every now and then to look for examples, rather than something that leaves you with one overarching idea. The overarching idea here is probably “Don’t trust stereotypes because there will be so many counterexamples.” Which is true not just for American and British English, I suppose.
  • My favourite evidence based demolition was how she points out that many “vulgar Americanisms” are British in origin; and vice versa. Snicker.
  • But I highlighted very little, made hardly any notes (August was a very lacakdaisical month), and now the book has gone back to the library and I’m hard pressed to remember the examples. Again, what I said about it being a reference book. But not one I’m going to buy – it’s just not something that’s my immediate interest; not a reflection on the author at all.

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