Blog Archives

Lowth’s grammars in ECCO II

The new version of ECCO is now readily accessible at the University of Leiden. It contains eleven (!) more editions of Lowth’s grammar, including … Read more »

Fowler into OED

In September this year, a facsimile reprint was published by Oxford University Press, as part of their World Classics Series, of the first edition of Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1926). The edition includes an introduction from David Crystal, in which he assesses Fowler’s status … Read more »

Boswell’s BMI?

Boswell’s entry in the ODNB reads that he "stood about 5 feet 6 inches tall, and his weight at 1776 was recorded as 11 stone 12lbs". He was 36 at the time, and his BMI (Body Mass Index) … Read more »

Robert Baker in ECCO

To my suprise, I found two additions this morning to the publications by Robert Baker listed in ECCO. Surprisingly, though, they don’t show up every time, but I can’t work out why this is.

Robert Baker is the author of Reflections on the English Language (1770, 2nd ed. 1779), and various other works in ECCO. His Reflections is the first … Read more »

How long does long s continue?

I have just found a cup which was produced on the occasion of the coronation of the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina. The text, "Kronings Feest 1898", contains a long s. Are there any differences in the retention of long s in English and Dutch? Jane Austen’s gravestone similarly still contains long s, which seems to me rather late, for English anyway.

Best student presentation

Lyda Fens-de Zeeuw, one of the PhD students of the Codifiers project, has won a prize “in recognition of the best student presentations delivered during the conference on Prescriptivism and Patriotism, Language Norms and Identities, from Nationalism to Globalization”, New College, University of Toronto, 17-19 August 2009. She won the prize for her paper called “Accent on Arrival: prescribing the communicability of professional immigrants in Canadian labour markets”, which she co-authored with Kori Allan from the University of Toronto.

Jazz and the OED (a note from Bob Rigter)

On his retirement from the University of Leiden, Professor Noel Osselton was presented with a collection of studies in Tieken & Frankis (eds.) 1991, Language usage and description, Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Since Noel Osselton was a ‘dictionary man’, it was a pleasure Read more »

Ann Fisher in the New York Times

On 26 July 2009, a short piece appeared on the “all-purpose pronoun”, which was first written about by Ann Fisher in her New Grammar (1745). You will find the link to the article here.

Correction to OED’s entry for “government”

The grammatical term “government”, according to the OED, was first found as a lemma in Johnson’s dictionary, where it is defined as “influence with regard to construction”. It is next recorded as being first used by Lowth in a nineteenth-century reprint of the grammar, published in 1838. The quotation in question, “Adverbs have no Government”, is, however, also found in the first edition (1762:126), so the reference in the OED may be simplified accordingly.

Professor of Poetry in Oxford

The poet Ruth Padel, who resigned as Professor of Poetry in Oxford after only nine days, was preceded in this chair by Robert Lowth. Lowth was Professor of Poetry in Oxford from 1741 to 1751. The lectures he delivered there were published as De Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum Praelectiones Academiai in 1753, and he was subsequently awarded his doctorate from the University of Oxford a year later.