Are you annoyed by grammar purists?

Do prescriptive pedants pester you with trivial issues of usage?

What you need is some ammunition for fighting back. And it’s here, in the new book ‘Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation’.

Linguist Daniel Midgley talks with author Ammon Shea on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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Promo with Chris Wheeldon

Show notes

Linguists decry accent contest

What’s Wrong With “America’s Ugliest Accent”

Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation by Ammon Shea

Ammon’s article in The Week

Ammon Shea’s website

What is the ‘shirtfront’ Tony Abbott wants to give to Vladimir Putin?

Russian official mocks Tony Abbott after threat to ‘shirt-front’ Vladimir Putin


Buttonhole was originally buttonhold.

“When fashion decreed that upper buttons be eliminated, button-holders didn’t suddenly reform. Instead they began grabbing people by the buttonholes (that) designers, for no good reason, left on the lapels and the phrase became to buttonhole.”

The French have the same expression: Serrer le bouton de quelqu’un.

Show tunes

‘Bad Kingdom’ by Moderat
from the album II

‘Take Off Your Shirt’ by Bibio
from the album Mind Bokeh