Friday, January 20, 2017

What the dickens!

Acceptance of multiculturalism in the 21st century has brought about a spirit of tolerance that sometimes leads to amusing results in the study of grammar. While grammarians in the early 20th century were free to dismiss as barbarous illiteracy what appears to us today to be no more than a minor syntactic inelegance, grammarians these days hum and haw when confronted with an obvious solecism and they do all they can to excuse the error as an acceptable variant when it clearly isn't. In the same spirit of pusillanimity, linguists these days are quick to remind their readers that the grammar they write is descriptivist and they turn their noses up at the works of grammarians of a previous generation which they label as 'prescriptivist'.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Let's talk about old age.

When I turned 40, I sat in front of my birthday cake with four lit candles on it and I recited Yeats' poem to my kids, the crucial lines of which are: