Iva Cheung has done up a nice, cogent, accurate summary of my presentation at the 2014 Editors’ Association of Canada conference. You can read it at www.ivacheung.com/2014/06/our-changing-language-when-does-wrong-become-right-james-harbeck-eac-conference-2014/.
The PowerPoint I used for the presentation can be downloaded from www.harbeck.ca/James/harbeck_wrong_right.pptx.
A few months ago, a fellow editor, Paul Cipywnyk, told me and other members of the Editors’ Association of Canada about something perfectly awful that had happened. Continue reading
This is the text of a presentation I made at the Editors’ Association of Canada Conference in Vancouver, June 10, 2006. It came with a handout, “A brief history of English,” which is available as a PDF. It traces the history and development of the English language and the nature and function of language change.
Posted in language and linguistics
Tagged class, English history, English language history, English vowels, great vowel shift, language change, language deterioration, lexical change, long vowels, morphological change, morphology, Old English, phonetic profiling, proper English, reanalysis, Robert Lowth, semantic change, semantics, short vowels, sociolinguistics, sound change, standard English, syntactic change, syntax, word change
This is the text of a presentation I made to the Toronto branch of the Editors’ Association of Canada, Sept. 24, 2007. Certain parts were sung; you can guess which.
It ain’t necessarily so, no,
it ain’t necessarily so,
the things Strunk and White
want to tell you are right,
it just ain’t necessarily so.
Getting pissed off about grammatical errors is a favourite activity of a surprisingly large portion of English speakers. Continue reading
Posted in editing, language and linguistics
Tagged a historic, ain't, alright, an historic, anyways, can, capitalization, conjunctions, decimate, descriptivism, double negatives, double superlatives, fewer, fun, hopefully, language change, lay, less, lie, like, may, more unique, prepositions, prescriptivism, sentence adverbs, sociolinguistics, split infinitives, standard English, till, verbing
An email sent around to members of the Editors’ Association of Canada enjoined members to “Convince [a fellow] editor to become a member of EAC,” which sparked a debate among members as to whether “convince” could – or should – be used there rather than “persuade.” It was pointed out that usage guides note that some people find “convince someone to do something” objectionable, but it was also pointed out that the distinction was unfamiliar even to some EAC members. This provoked a response that ignorance of the law is no defense. Which provoked a response from me on the nature of laws of language: Continue reading