About TVR  |  Site Index  |  Write for TVR  |  Subscribe to TVR  |  Donate to TVR  |  Search TVR  |  Back Issues  |  TVR Forum
TVR Home > In Next Month's TVR Contact TVR

The Vocabula Review

 

Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside
Many people regard philology as a dry subject. Not surprisingly, many people assume that all philologists are therefore dry and humorless people. That may well be true for the generality, but in even the most arid desert an oasis can be found.


Bryan A. Garner

Bryan A. Garner
Shortly after the first edition of my Dictionary of Modern American Usage appeared in 1998, a British reviewer — the noted linguist Tom McArthur — remarked about it: "Henry Watson Fowler, it would appear, is alive and well and living in Texas." This might have seemed like the highest praise possible. After all, in the American press in the 1980s and 1990s, Fowler had been hailed as "immortal" (Fortune), "urbane" (Boston Globe), and even "saintly" (L.A. Times). Meanwhile, his 1926 Dictionary of Modern English Usage had been called "classic" (New York Times) and "indispensable" (Christian Science Monitor) — "one of the great works in and of the language" (L.A. Times).

But McArthur didn't intend much, if any, praise in his comment. Fowler, you see, was a prescriptivist: he issued judgments about linguistic choices. McArthur, like almost every other linguist, is a descriptivist: he mostly disclaims making judgments about linguistic choices. And the describers and the prescribers (if I may call them that) haven't been on speaking terms for a very long time.


Marylaine Block

Marylaine Block
"Tell all the truth," Emily Dickinson said, "but tell it slant." In eight simple words, she explained what lies at the heart of all great writing.

Why not proceed straightforwardly, simply state "the truth"? She offered one reason, though there are many. It's like looking directly into the sun; truth, she says, is too glorious, too powerful, and we are too weak, too limited, to bear it. "The truth must dazzle gradually, or every man be blind."


Eric Scheske

Eric Scheske
You wouldn't think it to see me, but I'm a lusty man. As of this writing, I am seeing five highly attractive companions, and at least ten more are begging for my attention. In the past few years, I have dumped at least a score of escorts.



The October issue of The Vocabula Review is due online October 19.


 

Back one page Print this page
About TVR  |  Site Index  |  Write for TVR  |  Subscribe to TVR  |  Donate to TVR  |  Search TVR  |  Back Issues  |  TVR Forum

.Back to Top Vocabula logo TVR HomeTVR Home


Copyright © 1999-2002 Vocabula Communications Company. All rights reserved.
No material from this site may be used or reproduced without permission.
Vocabula is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
Grumbling About Grammar is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
TVR signature tune copyright © 2001 Vocabula Communications Company. All rights reserved.
Vocabula logo copyright © 2002 Vocabula Communications Company. All rights reserved.