Perspectives on Prescriptivism (20-22 April 2006) was hosted by the University of Catania – Faculty of Foreign Languages – in Ragusa. Until very recently, the received view among linguists was that prescriptivism was a ‘bad thing’, something only worth considering in order to condemn it as a product of unenlightened thinking. The organisers wished to encourage participants to look at linguistic prescriptivism from a wide range of perspectives. Some of the main questions asked were: To what extent is the concept of prescriptivism to be considered a typical product of the 18
century? What is the attitude of 21
-century scholars and language guardians towards linguistic ‘correctness’? To what extent were books more prescriptive – rather than descriptive – in what has generally been described as ‘the age of correctness’? Some of the answers are to be found in this volume.
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2008. 269 pp., 9 tables and graphs
Contents: Joan C. Beal: ‘Shamed by your English?’: the Market Value of a ‘Good’ Pronunciation – Marina Dossena: Prescriptivism
a Century Ago: Business Correspondence Taught to Emigrants - A Case Study – Karlijn Navest: Ash’s Grammatical Institutes
and ‘Mrs Teachwell’s Library for her young ladies’ – Larisa Oldireva Gustafsson: Phonoaesthetic Assessment of Words in
18th-century Prescriptions and Later – Carol Percy: Liberty, Sincerity, (In)accuracy: Prescriptions for Manly
English in 18th-century Reviews and the ‘Republic of Letters’ – Laura Pinnavaia: Charles Richardson: Prescriptivist
or Descriptivist? An Analysis Based on A New Dictionary of the English Language (1836-37) – Giuliana Russo: Joseph
Priestley’s The Rudiments of English Grammar; Adapted to the Use of schools. With Observations on Style (1761) – Massimo
Sturiale: Prescriptivism and 18th-century Bilingual Dictionaries. William Perry’s The Standard French and English
Pronouncing Dictionary (1795) – Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade: The Codifiers and the History of Multiple Negation in English,
or, Why Were 18th-century Grammarians So Obsessed with Double Negation? – Laura Wright: Social Attitudes Towards
Londoners’ Front-glide Insertion After Velar Consonants and Before Front Vowels – Nuria Yáñez-Bouza: To End or Not to End
a Sentence with a Preposition: An 18th-century Debate.