Archive for July, 2015

great western

12 July 2015



11 July 2015


“To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;
to listen to the stars and birds,
to babes and sages, with open heart;
to study hard, to think quietly,
act frankly, talk gently;
await occasions, hurry never;
in a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common —
this is my symphony.”

— William Henry Channing
(seen on posters with some adjustments including
last line: “This is to live in Nelson.”)

grammar day 2015

1 July 2015
Discussions of standard English and its discontents usually start with decline and fall. Standards are declining, civilization is falling – or at least someone else says so, giving us something to argue against. The second annual Grammar Day at the British Library was no exception. Prescriptivism was a stalking horse for speakers, and it also showed up in person, in the form of an audience member who commented in the final discussion in the trumpeting tones of the sterotypical letter-writing colonel from Tunbridge Wells. When I heard him claim affiliation with the Apostrophe Protection Society, I thought he might be a plant or a hallucination; but when he said dyslexia was a myth (and was quashed by the panel) he seemed genuine.