Dear Friend of the English Language,
Even today — subjected as we are to the apotheosis of popular culture — using the English language respectfully helps us maintain a sense of ourselves and our values. To do otherwise, to disregard the ways of our words, is to forsake our humanity and, perhaps, even forfeit our future. A society is generally as lax as its language. And in a society of this sort, easiness and mediocrity are much esteemed.
Along with the evolution of language — the thousands of neologisms that new technologies and new thinking have brought about, for instance — there has been a concurrent, if perhaps less recognizable, devolution of language. The English language has become more precise for some users of it while becoming more plodding for others. Not a small part of this new cumbrousness is due to the loss of distinctions between words, the misuse of words, and other abuses of language.
That a U.S. presidential candidate can cry Is our children learning, an admired basketball star can use the word conversate, a well-known college professor can say vociferous when he means voracious, and another can scold a student for using the word juggernaut because she believes it means jigaboo is disturbing. The Vocabula Review strives to combat the degradation of our language.
Equally important, we celebrate its opulence and its elegance. The English language is wonderfully expressive and infinitely flexible. There are many thousands of words and many hundreds of ways in which to use them. The Vocabula Review seeks to promote the richness of our language.
In sum, The Vocabula Review battles nonstandard, careless English and embraces clear, expressive English. We hope we can encourage our readers to do as much.
Help us promote clear, expressive English.
Do you prize well-spoken, well-written language? Do you believe all right is correct and alright and awright are nonsense, that predominant is an adjective and predominate a verb, that they and them are exclusively plural pronouns, that blithering politicians ought not to be elected to higher office, that a society is generally as lax as its language?
If you'd like to become a Vocabula sponsor and contribute $25, 50, $100, $250, or more, you will have our thanks and some assurance that The Vocabula Review will endure another day.
If you represent a business or corporation, a college or university, and you prize well-spoken, well-written English, please consider making your values known by sponsoring The Vocabula Review.
Here are some views on Vocabula.
There's nothing else like Vocabula, certainly not on the web — nothing as apt takes such lovely turns. I don't know what I'd do without it. — Scot Zarela
This is my fifth or sixth renewal. What a bargain! TVR is a wonderful teaching magazine. My only gripe is that it wasn't around earlier in my life. When I think of all those blunders .... — Richard Northrup
The Review is probably not more important than food but it bumps up there as a pretty close second. — Doug Bartlett
I delight in TVR. One of my daily treats is to play the Definition-a Day Quiz. Thanks for this feature and keep the words coming! — Mary Ruth Holthaus
I continue to enjoy your journal. Thanks for all the hard work that makes it happen. — Mark Shadle
Please renew my soul. — John Maybury
I have stolen a Vocabula subscription. How 'bout that? I just renewed. ... You gotta admit it's a steal, and bound to be the best value I'll get for my hard-earned in '05. — David Murray-Smith
I thought I had lost Vocabula! Help me connect anew! — Charles Hunter
You certainly must be very proud of your TVR. I believe it to be the very best site on the whole Internet. I'm singing its praises to all of my friends. — Tom O'Brien
With every issue TVR becomes a greater pleasure. Thank you. — Tom Carpenter
Vocabula is like nothing I've seen on the Internet. ... I am overwhelmed by the wealth of resources available with this subscription, and all the helpful functionality of the site. — Tom McGlinn
I have renewed my subscription. I can't imagine being without it. — Jenell Larson
I enjoy my new subscription enormously! — David Lettvin
You have a great journal. I'll spread the word. — Anne-Marie Mallon
TVR was recently recommended on one of our Members Only forums and the post generated a lot of enthusiasm. It is indeed wonderful! — Brett Harvey, Executive Director, American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA)
You now may count me among your enthusiastic subscribers. — Diane Chin
I admire how you're putting together all these informative articles. As the former editor of a law journal (for more than a decade), I know how much work goes into assembling and editing all the pieces. Congratulations. — Bryan A. Garner
I wanted to let you know that since mid-September I've been teaching at a college in Poland (about 50 km SE of Gdansk). If you could send the TVR numbers remaining on my subscription this way, life in Poland, which ain't bad, would be even better. — Mark Zimmermann
I can no longer imagine my life without TVR. — Ken Williams
The Vocabula Review is a lively, interesting, and even amusing look at the sad state of our language that offers inspiration for improvement. — Harvard Management Communication Letter
I enjoy the Review. Keep up the good work. — Geoffrey Nunberg
I love TVR. Thank you for your work. — Dianne Kerwin
It's been over a year since I've been without TVR ... and I'm finally realizing what a loss it was for so long. I look forward to getting access to TVR again. — Ron Andrews
Can't risk an expiration! Please extend my subscription for another two years. My thanks for your fine work! — Kent Butler
I have just discovered your site. What a relief. I have spent nearly all my life trying to teach people to write clear, well-formed sentences in a country where there is little acknowledgement of the need for such things. In the past, under apartheid, there was every reason to use language to distort and confuse reality. Now there is a rejection of standards in the name of democracy and freedom. "A society is generally as lax as its language" strikes a real chord. If you have a mailing list please put me on it. Otherwise, a carrier pigeon or smoke signals will do. — Michael Rice
Read more views here: http://www.vocabula.com/VRpress3.asp
Thank you for your consideration,
Robert Hartwell Fiske
Editor and Publisher
The Vocabula Review
Yes, I want to help.
I want to help promote clarity and elegance in the use of the English language.
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* Not yet a subscriber to Vocabula? http://www.vocabula.com/VRsubscribe.asp. We will happily give you a full-access subscription to The Vocabula Review for your contribution of $25; for $50, we will give you two subscriptions; for $75, three; for $100, five; for $250, fifteen; for $500 twenty-five; for $1000, as many as one hundred. Please list below all email addresses that are to receive a subscription.
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