Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 10:21:18 EST
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: double negatives and other prescriptions
Jeutonne Brewer writes,
On Sun, 16 Nov 1997, Kusujiro Miyoshi wrote:
The discussion on double negatives is quite interesting for me in
that it reminds me the arguments in England in the eighteenth
century. This discussion seems to be the one being had between
Priestley and Lowth.
Thanks for mentioning Priestley. He provides a good 18th century
contrast to Lowth later prescriptive popularizing grammarians like
Lindley Murray. Unfortunately, the Lowthian ideas are the ones
?that still appear in school grammars.
18th century grammarians like Lowth proclaimed a whole series
of prescriptive statements about English. I remember that Albert
Baugh's history of the language book has/had an interesting list
of these. Offhand, I remember different than/different from in
the list. The 18th century grammarians were also prescriptively
important in imposing generic "he" as "correct."
Baugh is a fine reference, but let's not omit the valuable work of our own
Dennis Baron, viz. _Language and Good Taste: Reforming the American Language_
(Yale U. P., 1982), with several chapters on the 18th, 19th, and 20th century
prescriptivists and language mavens.