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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
 

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Amglish

Deborah Schaffer

While these synopses suggest an easily identifiable focus and purpose for each chapter, the actual reading experience is something more fragmented, even rambling. A good example is presented by the very first chapter. It opens with the Sarah Palin “refudiate” incident; ties it to “the new lingo that’s sweeping around the world” — that is, Amglish; and goes on to consider other recent neologistic or grammatical controversies, including Greta Van Susteren’s coinage of the term squirmish to characterize the United States’ role in the uprising in Libya. George W. Bush’s malapropistic “They misunderestimated me” after his 2000 court-decided election victory is then presented, and other more general prescriptive shibboleths such as nonstandard past-tense verb forms and chaotic spelling. It carries on from there to offer a bulleted list of “fading commandments” such as “Thou shalt not make verbs out of nouns” before finally reviewing some Native American and other language influences on English. All this discussion is mixed in with commentary from various language pundits — Mark Twain, George Orwell, H. L. Mencken and many more — and background information and opinion from Rowse himself, as in “All nitpickers should put their picks away. Let’s face it, formal English is dying. A new, much less formal language is taking over this country and the world. And it’s time to welcome it with open arms. In fact, there’s no way to stop it” (p. 2). . . 

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Above excerpt taken from the June 2012 issue of MultiLingual published by MultiLingual Computing, Inc., 319 North First Avenue, Suite 2, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864-1495 USA, 208-263-8178, Fax: 208-263-6310. Subscribe

June, 2012