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Language prescriptivism: Attitudes to usage vs. actual language use in American English

On December 18th, Viktorija Kostadinova succesfully defended her doctoral thesis and graduated. The Leiden University Centre for Linguistics congratulates Viktorija on this great result.

Viktorija Kostadinova
18 December 2018
Leiden University Repository


This thesis explores the influence of prescriptivism on language use in American English. It does so by studying the relationship between language advice literature, patterns of language use, and speakers’ attitudes. The thesis shows that the genre of usage guides, routinely associated with prescriptivism, is undergoing change to reflect processes of change in progress in American English. Furthermore, prescriptivism and language use are shown to mutually influence each other.

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