4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
Ever wonder why all these books about language decline are written by journalists and not linguists?, 22 Jan. 2012
Like all armchair language police, Humphrys has no idea what he's talking about. As the most basic linguistics module would have taught him, language is a form of social behaviour: English is not a living organism that goes through phases of being 'strong' or 'weak'; it does not thrive or degenerate; it's just a variety of sign-systems, some of which have been arbitrarily privileged as 'correct'. If American English did not have the socio-economic clout of a superpower behind it, pedants like Humphrys would be arguing that this was equally incorrect, degraded English. The fact that some communities choose to communicate with each other in different vocabulary or syntax does not simply mean that their language is degraded or meaningless. Much of the word-usage which Humphrys rages against has its origins in older English speech than supposedly 'correct', modern English. This is all just an excuse for middle-class, middle-aged prigs to flatter themselves that they are superior to working-class people or any other disempowered communities. Google (actual linguist) David Crystal's response to this book and don't waste your money funding this ignorance.