Who was the most prescriptive 18th-century grammar?

Usually, Lowth is given the credit for this. But he wasn’t, not by a long shot. Any idea whose grammar has the largest number of proscriptive comments?


Last Friday, I presented a paper on the OED, the ODNB and ECCO during which I focussed on the question of how we can search the data now that it is available in electronic format. There are some examples in the attached powerpoint presentations, but more suggestions will be very welcome indeed. Please enter them in the comments box below. Download file

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 6 June Raymond Hickey will present "Introducing Corpus Presenter" in 1168 004 from 11:00-13:00. All welcome! If you want to know more about this programme for software analysis please follow the link

Corpus Linguistics Summer Institute

For those interested in working with Wordsmith Tools: during his visit in Leiden last month, Mike Scott, aka the father of Wordsmith Tools, announced that this summer, the University of Liverpool offers a course on Corpus Linguistics. For more information, see Mike Scott’s website. The deadline for registration is 1 May.


"You can now search and download around 35,000 Royal Navy wills. The wills cover men who joined the Royal Navy between 1786 and 1882." You can find these through the web link below:


Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 11 April Anita Auer will present "The design and objectives of the Leiden Northern English Letter Corpus" in 1168 004 from 12:00-13:00. All welcome!

How English as we know it is disappearing … to be replaced by ‘Panglish’

I have just stumbled across an interesting article, which is followed by even more interesting comments by readers! Shall we accept that language is changing or demand an academy?

Have a look at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.html?in_page_id=1965&in_article_id=546469

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 14 March Mike Scott will present "A Demonstration of the Concordancing Program WordSmith" in 1168 004 from 11:00-13:00. All welcome! If you are interested in the possibilities of such programs, you can read the following article by Paul Baker. Download file

Peter Green and the English of Tristan da Cunha

At the moment Bas van Elburg is doing research into the English of Pieter Groen (Peter Green), a Dutchman who spent most of his life on the island of Tristan da Cunha (Atlantic Ocean) in the 19th and early 20th centuries. With hardly any formal education Pieter Groen boarded ships at an early age to hunt seals until he was shipwrecked off the coast of Tristan da Cunha in 1836. He decided to stay on the island and lived in a small community of people who, by the time of his arrival, had already developed an English dialect consisting of features from several British input varieties. A number of letters written by Pieter Groen in his later life, however, show a variety that is close to standard British English. A possible explanation for this is that he was an autodidact. Bas van Elburg would like to know if other cases exist of self-taught persons who acquired second (standard) language learning in similar circumstances.

Picard’s New Pocket Dictionary of English and Dutch (1843)

Recently, I received a request for information from Ms Yuriko Tsunekawa on H. Picard, A new pocket dictionary of the English and Dutch languages, published in 1843. This dictionary played an important big role in the development of the first Japanese English dictionary in Japan, which came out in 1862.

Ms Tsunekawa would particularly like to know more about the importance of the dictionary in the Netherlands at that time, and what other Dutch dictionaries could have served as a possible source for the Japanese dictionary. Other questions she has are whether Picard (1843) was an authorised dictionary, what it’s primary purpose was, whether it was merely a practical dictionary or whether it was also used by academics.

Please post your comments here, which will be much appreciated by Ms Tsunekawa.