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PhD Defence

Grassroots Prescriptivism

Date
22 November 2018
Time
Address
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

Until the beginning of this century, with few notable exceptions, prescriptivism has received little serious attention among the academic linguistic community as a factor in language variation and change. The five studies included in this book are embedded in the growing research initiative that is attempting to paint a fine-grained picture of linguistic prescriptivism in the English language. In contrast to institutional prescriptivism, or the so-called prescriptivism from above, which is enforced by bodies such as language planning boards, governmental committees, and agencies, this book focuses on grassroots prescriptivism – the attempts of lay people to promote the standard language ideology.

Grassroots prescriptivism investigates the metalinguistic comments of language users expressed on traditional (letters to newspaper editors and radio phone-ins) and new media platforms (forum and blog discussions). This book demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, language users are not passive recipients of language rules, but active participants in matters of linguistic prescriptivism. The diachronic exploration of grassroots prescriptivism reveals a complex picture. While in many respects, twenty-first-century prescriptivism represents a continuation of the 250-year-old prescriptive tradition, the author argues that prescriptivism, like language itself, undergoes change over time.

Funding organisations

The research for this book was carried out as part of the project ‘Bridging the Unbridgeable: Linguists, Prescriptivists and the General Public’, financed by the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Supervisors

  • Prof. I. Tieken-Boon van Ostade
  • Prof. C. Mair (University of Freiburg)

Attend

PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
m.a.muns@bb.leidenuniv.nl
+31 71 527 3282

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