Radio Times

Bad English

June 11, 2014

Guest: Ammon Shea

Are you a stickler for syntax or pedantic about pronouns?  Have you been criticized for poor grammar?  Or do you play around with language, inventing words and fiddling with phrases, like a modern-day Shakespeare?  For hundreds of years, people have scolded others for the way they use English.  Today, Twitter and instant messaging have added new layers to those arguments.  Author AMMON SHEA’s new book, Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation, delves into the fluid, changeable mess that is the English language.  Shea picks apart arguments over what constitutes “good English”, and explores how slang and mistakes enrich our language.  A dictionary collector, Shea previously devoted an entire year to reading the Oxford English Dictionary, writing a book about the experience: Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages.

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