Language Guardian

More than 1,000 people subscribed to The Vocabula Review after reading Language Guardian, written by Joseph Epstein and published, on December 7, 2006, in the Wall Street Journal.

Here are a few paragraphs from "Language Guardian":


Robert Hartwell Fiske ... runs an online monthly journal called the Vocabula Review (, which, as Mr. Fiske writes, "battles nonstandard, careless English and embraces clear, expressive English," and hopes to encourage its readers to do likewise. Vocabula means "words" in Latin, and words are the name of Mr. Fiske's game. Read the Vocabula Review, and you will be convinced that the battle ought to be yours, too.

Mr. Fiske is the latest — and let us hope not the last — in a line of language guardians that goes back, in English, to Jonathan Swift and has been continued, closer to our time, by H. L. Mencken, H. W. Fowler, George Orwell, F. L. Lucas and Sir Ernest Gowers. ...

Behind Mr. Fiske's continuing project is the idea that without careful language there can be no clear thought. Politicians, advertising copywriters, swindlers of differing styles and ambitions know this well and put it to their own devious uses. The rest of us too easily tend to forget this central truth.

Read the entire article here.


Despite what linguists and lexicographers have been spouting for some years now, people — including Wall Street Journal readers — are interested in reading and writing and hearing clear, expressive, inspiring English. The overwhelming response to Joseph Epstein's article reveals that people do believe that standards of English language usage should be observed. Meaning still matters.

Do you prize well-spoken, well-written language? Do you believe all right is correct and alright is nonsense, that predominant is an adjective and predominate a verb, that blithering politicians ought not to be elected to higher office, that a society is generally as lax as its language?

If so, subscribe to The Vocabula Review.

Subscribe to Vocabula here

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