American Tongue Review

American Tongue
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American Tongue ReviewI don't know if you remember, but there was a string of crabby bookx in the eighties-- John Simon, Edwin Neuhouse, William Safire were the front runners, but there were lots more, it was a burgeoning industry for awhile there for the stampers out of "language sin." all sounding like Andy Rooney: "You know what I hate? I hate it when people say 'X,' when they really should say 'Y.' "
Then Quinn's book came out and-- I think this is what did it-- it pretty much shut that whole thing down, for at least ten or fifteen years. (It's a job that's never finished for good, it's more ongoing, like weeding. Menken put in a fair amount of work on it, decades earlier.)
Quinn's take on what the "language sins people" were proposing, and his demonstrations of the error of their ways, are always very amusing, often outrageous, and ultimately unanswerable. It's a very good book-- you will argue with it as you read it.
He became a kind of "language guy" himself, in the process-- he was nicer to Safire than to the rest of them, and Safire still quotes him sometimes in his NY Times column.American Tongue Overview

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