The Magazine

Ain’t Necessarily So

Who speaks for the English language?

Feb 6, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 20 • By JACK LYNCH
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Anyone who cares about the language—and that almost certainly includes everyone who reads this review—would do well to read The Language Wars. It’s important to approach it with an open mind; those who expect Hitchings to confirm their prejudices will inevitably come away disappointed. And every reader will be frustrated from time to time. But they all stand to learn from this entertaining, wide-ranging, and unusually balanced account of the blood that has been spilled in the name of proper English.

Jack Lynch is professor of English at Rutgers and the author of, among other books, The Lexicographer’s Dilemma: The Evolution of “Proper” English, from Shakespeare to South Park.