Chapter published in:Norms and Conventions in the History of English
Edited by Birte Bös and Claudia Claridge
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 347] 2019
► pp. 7–28
Usage guides and the Age of Prescriptivism
Questioning the traditional association of the Age of Prescriptivism with the 18th century, this study distinguishes between prescription as a late stage in the English standardisation process and the subsequently arising prescriptivism, with possibly stronger roots in America than the UK. The typical product of prescriptivism is the usage guide, published in increasing numbers over the years and enormously popular today. Irregular verbs are used as a case study to demonstrate how usage guides treat usage problems, and to bring to light their essentially idiosyncratic nature. Results from a survey conducted to try and assess the effects of prescriptivism in the eyes of the general public showed that currently a form of anti-prescriptivism is developing, though this does not actually seem to herald the end of English standardisation as such.
Keywords: prescriptivism, prescription, usage guides, usage problems, the English standardisation process, irregular verbs, anti-prescriptivism
Published online: 27 May 2019
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Cited by 1 other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 26 november 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.