The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of Proper English, from Shakespeare to South Park, review
In its long history, the English language has had many lawmakers — those who have tried to regulate, or otherwise organize, the way we speak. The Lexicographer’s Dilemma offers the first narrative history of these endeavors, showing clearly that what we now regard as the only “correct” way to speak emerged out of specific historical and social conditions over the course of centuries.
As literary historian Jack Lynch has discovered, every rule has a human history, and the characters peopling his narrative are as interesting for their obsession as for their erudition.
An interesting, enlightening and certainly entertaining walk through evolution of English language and the multiples dilemmas it has faced. This book explanains how English has been working and developing through years.
A good reading to understand and remember that language belongs to speakers no matter how much experts want to rule it and how much they want to say what is correct and what is not.
Something important about this book is the author understands we can not talk about a proper language, but an adecuate use of language depending on the context or the people you are talking to. Indeed there are rules to follow but there are also people speaking and they are who really shape language.
It was also entertaining to read how through human history many people have complaint about the way other people speak. So, if you think there were a better use of language in the past, maybe you should know this is not the first time that people and experts talk dramatically about the corruption of English language, and it certainly wont be the last.
What Jack Lynch tries to tell us is that language is alive, so there is no good English and bad English, time does not corrupt language, language evolves by its speakers. English and any other language does not need protection but a mere study how it works.
Title: The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of Proper English, from Shakespeare to South Park
Autor/Narrator: Jack Lynch / Anthony Gettig
Publisher/year: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury, 2013.
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins.